We are going to look at the second part of today’s gospel. It is Mark 1: 9-11. It says, “ At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the River Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.” WOW….. three very powerful lines. Notice heaven was torn open, obviously something big was going on. Notice we have proof of the Trinity, not that we needed it. We hear God the Father’s booming voice. We see the Spirit in the form of a dove and we see Jesus as Himself. I wonder what John the Baptist was doing?
Two of seven Sacraments of the church were instituted by Jesus. Those being Baptism and Eucharist. Jesus didn’t need to be baptized and it seems that He wants us to understand how important Baptism is. The temple leaders sent a delegation to ask who John was and why he was baptizing. I think they were curious to see if John was the Messiah they were expecting.
Baptism is the entry into God’s grace and into a church community. The priest or pastor asks the Holy Spirit to come down and bless the water. The priest also seals the person with Holy Oil representing the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a COVENANT or agreement between God and His people and the baptized and the church.
Here are a few of the questions that the priest asks the congregation during the Baptism service. THEY ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY! : Priest: Will you continue in the Apostle’s teachings and the breaking of the bread and in the prayers? People: We will with God’s help. Priest: Will you persevere in resisting evil, and when you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? People” We will with God’s help. Priest: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? People: We will with God’s help. Priest: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? People: We will with God’s help. And finally will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? People: We will with God’s help! And you thought I was kidding about how important Baptism is. AMEN!