January 12, The Baptism of the Lord: Pilgrims, a Sunday Scriptures blog

The Gospels were written years after Jesus’ death. During our 2020 liturgical year (the A cycle), we hear Sunday Gospels from the Gospel of Matthew, written around the year 80 A.D. or C.E., and sometimes passages from John’s Gospel, written around 100. This Sunday and for the next several weeks, the evangelists are looking back on how it all began. How did the call and ministry of Jesus begin? In today’s Scripture, Jesus puzzles John the Baptist by coming to him for baptism. John was puzzled because his baptism focused on repentance for sin, but Jesus was sinless. Jesus tells the Baptist, “allow it for now, for it is fitting. …” It was fitting because John was doing what Isaiah the prophet said to do — announcing the Messiah who would establish the kingdom of God on Earth. Jesus is experiencing his call to Messiahship within that spiritual framework. His call is in continuity with the teachings of prophets who lived long before him, and his ministry is directed toward his faith tradition. We Americans can slip into thinking of our religious calls as individual and private, as just between me and God. We are consummate individualists. But there is wisdom in acknowledging that we need a faith tradition to understand our call from God, and a group of other faithful folks to travel with throughout our lives, the way pilgrims walk together toward their goal. Who is in your faith community? How is your call to holiness connected to your faith community?

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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