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Youth Ministry Resources - The Baptism of the Lord

Year A: Matt 3:13-17 - The Baptism of the Lord

This is such a major event in the life of Jesus Christ, not because he needed the saving grace and promise of eternal life that baptism provides, in fact we hear that John the Baptist was most reluctant to baptise Jesus because he saw himself as too unworthy to perform baptism and ask for pardon of sins for someone who was clearly the Son of God. The event is more about God and God's revelation of Jesus as God's son than of the worthiness of the one ministering.

We notice that Jesus' baptism was by immersion in the waters of the Jordan and a plunging fully into the water highlights the saving experience of baptism because the water will refresh our souls and become living water for the journey ahead. As Jesus comes up out of the water Jesus sees the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descend from above. With all of this heavenly activity the people around would have been quite disturbed, especially when they heard God's voice naming Jesus as Son, as beloved, as the one whom God's favour rests on.

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to experience the Sacrament of Baptism during our Sunday mass and I say 'fortunate' because of all the Sacraments, Baptism is the most special because it is through this Sacrament that we become God's children, that we can call God, Father, Jesus, brother, and claim the Holy Spirit as being a part of our lives. Far too frequently our baptism can become a childhood memory and many of us do not even have photographs of the event. For our baptism to be left as a part of our childhood is most unfortunate because it is through out baptism that we can claim a place with God when our lives end.

A frequent comment heard is that "Catholics do funerals well" and this is true. We have been taught by Paul's numerous letters that through our baptism we are incorporated into the Body of Christ and through "dying to our old selves we become a new creation in Christ" and it is through this new creation that we are welcomed by God when our life on earth ends. The funeral liturgy is immersed in baptism language, the frequent use of the white pall reminds everyone of us that we are clothed in Christ and will be welcomed into eternal life. We "do funerals well" because our funerals recognise the gift of our lives and the promise of hope through eternal life. Our funerals are celebrations and so they should be.

Cate Mapstone

Year A: The Baptism of the Lord

YOUTH ANGLE - a bruised reed he shall not break, and a smouldering wick he shall not quench. Too often our society tells us - if it doesn't work - throw it away, if it doesn't produce -get another one. We have an issue with productivity. Which is why certain groups are often ignored. Because they are old, disabled, mentally ill, can't speak English or keep up with fashion they are given less importance. Because they can't produce what society wants - whether that be money, products, ideas, whatever. But this is not Jesus' angle. And it never was.

When the prophet Isaiah wrote about the "servant" that God was going to send he painted a beautiful picture of the Prince of Peace: a reed, even if it is bruised - he wouldn't break it. A wick that is dying won't be extinguished. In his actions Jesus shows us the beauty of peaceful ways - give everything and everyone the dignity they deserve. Did you know 1 in 3 Australian women experience domestic violence at some time in their lives? And that 1 in 6 Australian kids are bullied weekly? That road rage is on the rise and 90% of Aussie drivers experience it? There is so much violence in the world already. Let's not add to it with our thoughts or actions. Let's go out of our way to promote NON-VIOLENCE. And follow the example we hear today.

Manuela Macri

Year C: Lk3:15-16, 21-22 - The Baptism of the Lord

We are reminded today of God's complete love and graciousness to humanity through the baptism of Jesus. We all 'know' that Jesus was baptised by John in the river Jordan and in case we had missed the important part, God declares that Jesus is God's son, "the beloved," and that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus while he was at prayer. God loves us so much that Jesus came to be one of us, to show us how to live in relationship with God. Luke tells us that Jesus was at prayer when the Holy Spirit descended, to echo the biblical tradition of prayer preceding divine revelation. Jesus is teaching us how to be open to God's self-communication in prayer. All we have to do is stop in our daily rush to 'see and do everything', and include some God time.

God's graciousness and love has been extended to each of us through our baptism. You and I have been named as a child of God, we have been anointed 'priest, prophet and royal'. Too frequently, this reality has been lost along with most infant memories. It is our Christian birthright to claim relationship with God and it becomes our responsibility to live out our baptism in a world that is increasingly rejecting God. So, if we all 'know' that we have been baptised how do we change the event of a baptism, into a lifestyle so that everyone we meet and deal with will 'know' that we have been baptised?

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources The Baptism of the Lord
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Youth Ministry Resources The Baptism of the Lord