In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus is revealed as the beloved Son of God. Through this great epiphany, Jesus fulfills all righteousness and becomes the servant of God who will bring forth justice and be a light to the nations. In the waters of baptism we too are washed by the Word, anointed by the Spirit, and named God’s beloved children. Our baptismal mission is to proclaim good news to all who are oppressed or in need of God’s healing.
Readings and Psalm
The servant of the Lord brings justice
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. (Ps. 29:3)
Jesus’ ministry after his baptism
Revelation of Christ as God’s servant
First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9
is endowed with God’s spirit in order to bring justice to the nations.
The servant will not exercise authority boisterously or with violence,
nor will weariness ever prevent the fulfilling of the servant’s task.
God’s old promises have been fulfilled; the servant’s new assignment is
to bring light to the nations.1Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
5Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8I am the Lord, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.
9See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.
Psalm: Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. (Ps. 29:3)1Ascribe to the | Lord, you gods,
ascribe to the Lord glo- | ry and strength.
2Ascribe to the Lord the glory | due God’s name;
worship the Lord in the beau- | ty of holiness.
3The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of | glory thunders;
the Lord is upon the | mighty waters.
4The voice of the Lord is a pow- | erful voice;
the voice of the Lord is a | voice of splendor. R
5The voice of the Lord breaks the | cedar trees;
the Lord breaks the ce- | dars of Lebanon;
6the Lord makes Lebanon skip | like a calf,
and Mount Hermon like a | young wild ox.
7The voice | of the Lord
bursts forth in | lightning flashes.
8The voice of the Lord| shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilder- | ness of Kadesh. R
9The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the | forests bare.
And in the temple of the Lord all are | crying, “Glory!”
10The Lord sits enthroned a- | bove the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for- | evermore.
11O Lord, give strength | to your people;
give them, O Lord, the bless- | ings of peace. R
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-43
Peter crosses the sharp religious boundary separating Jews from Gentiles and proclaims the good news of God’s inclusive forgiveness in Jesus’ name to Cornelius, a Roman centurion. As a result of Peter’s preaching, Cornelius and his family become the first Gentiles to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.34Peter began to speak to [Cornelius and his household]: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
Before Jesus begins his ministry, he is baptized by John, touched by the Spirit, and identified publicly as God’s child.13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”