This Sunday we mark the end of the Christmas season with the Baptism of the Lord. There are various readings that each parish can choose from and you will find them all here.
The Gospel remains the same however and comes from Luke 3:15-16, 21-22. Luke starts out with complete clarity:
That says it! And we remain a people filled with expectation, don't we? And it is funny how we react when those expectations don't unfold as we imagine that they would or should.
Luke goes on and tells us this:
whether John might be the Christ.
People were so hungry for a messiah. We have one and we still feel this hunger! And it seemed that John just might be the one from what everyone saw at that time. John knew better however and let them know that he was simply "a finger pointing to the moon." Meaning, that he was there to prepare for one much greater.
Expectations not yet met, hopes not yet fulfilled.
It is very remarkable that we see that Jesus does come to John and John baptizes him. In the Gospel of Mark it is much more clear that John is a little taken aback by this... If Jesus is the true messiah, why would he allow himself to be baptized by John? Why wouldn't Jesus do the baptizing? As always, Jesus is found in unlikely place or found doing many unlikely things.
This is, in my mind anyway, an invitation to get out of our heads and out of our expectations. We believe that Jesus is Lord and we have certain expectations about that fact.
Jesus IS Lord, but how do we respond to the invitation to get out of our own way, blocked by our expectations and limited beliefs?
What is that old line - we don't believe ourselves into a new way of living but rather we live ourselves into a new way of believing. Something like that!
If baptism is to open our hearts and minds, that is exactly what we must do. It is not easy, but it is simple. I am going to give it a try for once, I hope that you will join me.