Gibraltar rocks. Pun intended. The Diocese of Gibraltar leaves the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord where it belongs (January 6th). That means that this Sunday, we in Gibraltar will raise our hearts and minds to the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.
The Baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of Ordinary Time (or as my old Bishop in Steubenville used to call it — “Extra-Ordinary Time,” because there’s nothing really ordinary about it!) just like Baptism marks the beginning of our lives in Christ. Baptism also marked the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus came to St John the Baptist to be baptised before He began to gather His Twelve Apostles and preach the Good News.
This Sunday, Holy Mother Church offers us the Gospel of the Apostle Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism. “As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’”
The words used by the Voice from Heaven are an allusion to the words that we’ll read in our First Reading from Isaiah: “Thus says the Lord: / Here is my servant whom I uphold, / my chosen one in whom my soul delights.”
This feast, in a poignant way, highlights the relationship of Jesus with our Father in heaven. The Lord says in Isaiah further on: “I have appointed you as a covenant of the people and light of the nations, / to open the eyes of the blind, / to free captives from prison, / and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.” These are the words of the prophecy of Isaiah in about 700 BC, and this is also the language of the Father for His Son, Jesus.
What is interesting in this passage is that the Lord calls this person “a covenant.” Normally, two persons make a covenant with each other but it is strange to call someone a covenant. However, with Jesus, it may be true. In Luke 22:20, Jesus holds a chali