Voice of God The Baptism of the Lord C
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 Psalm 29: 1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10, Acts 10:34-38 Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
In all of today’s readings, the term voice is explicitly stated or implied. Psalm 29 explicitly refers to a voice with, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters”. With these words, Brant Pitre explains, the psalmist brings us back to the dawn of time when, as described in the first chapter of Genesis, the voice of God speaks over the waters with the words “Let there be light”.
In interpreting this passage, Church Fathers identified a hidden reference to the Trinity, for before creating Light the “Spirit of God” is described as “moving over the face of the waters” then God speaks and there is light. God speaks as God the Father; God hovers over the waters, as the Holy Spirit, and the Word spoken is the Son, who also is the “Light of the world (John 8:12)”.
Similarly, when Jesus is baptized there is a manifestation of the Trinity as well. The Holy Spirit is described as above the waters, the Father speaks by telling Jesus that, “You are my beloved Son” and Jesus is the Son as the Word of the Father and Light to the world.
John the Baptist recognized Jesus’ uniqueness by saying, perhaps even with a touch of fear, “I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.” Pitre explains that at the time of Jesus people who untied the sandals from someone else’s feet were ordinarily slaves, whom the master might not even glance at in recognition. Here, John the Baptist is placing himself even lower than a slave with respect to Jesus, and he is right, after all Jesus, we believe, is God, the Creator in human form.
However, John the Baptist may not have been right if he said these words with fear expecting Jesus to rule with a display of hard power.
As the Gospel later reveals, Jesus did not act as ordinary human masters act towards those lower than them. What did Jesus do on Holy Thursday? – Much to the shock of his Disciples, especially Peter, Jesus washed their feet and then taught, “You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you. (John 13: 14-15 RSV)
Today, through the words of Scripture may Jesus the one Word of the Father teach us how to lead, by service, by humility, by meekness and not by lording over others our authority for this is done by pagans. “It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave (Matthew 20:26-27 RSV).”
anonimoius [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, “Baptism (coptic icon).jpg,”
Brant Pitre, “The Baptism of the Lord (Year C),” catholicproductions.com.