This Sunday is the first Sunday of “Ordinary Time,” the counted weeks of the liturgical year that are not part of the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas and Lent. Some “ordinary time” Sundays occur after Christmas — how many depends on whether Easter is early or late — and the rest are after Easter. The focus of this Sunday is the Baptism of Jesus. Sometimes when you read a book, its chapters are divided into parts. We have finished Part One and Part Two, the Advent and Christmas seasons, and we move into Part Three today, the public life of Jesus. Jesus in this Gospel is praying, after being baptized by John the Baptist, when “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him … like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” John’s baptism was a symbolic action announcing the coming of a Messiah who would establish the kingdom of God on earth. The divine voice identifies Jesus as that Messiah. What might this Gospel mean for us? Do you remember when you first felt you knew who you really were and what you were supposed to be doing in life? Perhaps it was a while ago, or perhaps it is just now becoming clear. And it also takes a long time for us to live into our identity and mission, once we get clear about it. We are called to be beloved children (identity), and to be servants in whom God is well pleased (mission) just as Jesus was. Being faithful to our call will require sacrifice and dedication on our part, just as it did for Jesus. Wherever we are in understanding our identity and mission, let’s rest in the assurance God gave Jesus, that we also are those in whom God is well pleased.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia