With this feast we move from Christmastide into what is called Ordinary time, except of course that there is nothing ordinary about it!
In Mark’s description of the baptism, we are told that the words spoken by God are intended for Jesus who, before setting out on his mission of proclaiming the Reign of God, is affirmed and graced by the Father. What Jesus receives here is not only a sense of himself in relation to God but also a sense of God’s desire for the whole world. We can come to this by reflecting on the fact that that the God who speaks to Jesus and the Spirit that descends on him is the same God and Spirit that inspires our first reading from Isaiah. It might help us to understand Jesus setting out on his mission if we allow ourselves a little time to imagine him praying the words of today’s first reading. How deeply moved was he as he became aware of the gift he was about to proclaim to the world – a gift whereby every person might come to know the unparalleled generosity of Yahweh, a God who does not keep account but who wills us to life, to a transformed way of being in the world, aware of our dignity as human beings in the sight of God.
Today’s feast is not just about the baptism of Jesus; it’s about the life we have because of Jesus – this extraordinary life that we live in ordinary time.
To be a human being in God’s world is to be graced, to be called to a relationship with God and indeed with everything God has created. This extraordinary gift is worked out in the “bits and pieces” of every day, including the struggles and the failures. We can bring everything to God because God is in everything and saying to each of us:
“You are my beloved.”