In our Gospel, Jesus discloses the mission of His earthly ministry at His hometown of Nazareth. Jesus, as a traditional Jew regularly attending the sabbath service, has been invited to read the lesson at the synagogue service. The text from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 61 outlines His mission: to proclaim glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free. At the same time, He proclaims a jubilee year acceptable to the Lord. In other words, Jesus is proclaiming Himself to be the Messiah and the messianic age to have begun.
In our Second Reading, St. Paul helps us to reflect on the Church. We, the Church, are the Body of Christ. As a body has many members, yet is one body, so also Christ. Indeed, there are different functions, but they are all important for the body. In Baptism, people are united to Christ and to one another by the Holy Spirit. To be healthy, the members of Christ (the Church) must work together.
In order to effectively share in the mission of Christ, Church must work together. We as a member of the Church of Christ must patiently and humbly work together in the realization of love, forgiveness and mercy.
Jesus started His public ministry. Jesus, Mary and His disciples were invited to a Jewish wedding, a weeklong custom and tradition.
The wedding feast at Cana is traditionally understood to be the first of seven signs Jesus performs in the first half of John’s Gospel. A sign is what the Synoptic Gospels refer to as a miracle. In the Gospel of John, however, a sign plays a very specific role of revealing some aspect of Jesus’ glory as the Son of God.
At one point in our life, we have attended a feast, be it family, friends, relatives, groups, etc. In that feast, we can tell how the host and the attendees enjoy the presence of each one with the sumptuous food and choice wine and drinks prepared by the host. And if the the feast is cut short because of lack of food and beverages, the host will definitely be in embarrassment. But, through the intercession of His Mother Mary, Jesus was also concerned about the wedding feast. This wondrous sign reveals again His divine identity as the Son of God.
Today, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. During the Baptism of Jesus, He descended into the River Jordan to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons and daughters of God. As the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, God, the Father, solemnly declared Him His Beloved Son. With the baptism of Jesus, the old age has come to an end. A new age has dawned, and it will center on Jesus the beloved Son.
Baptism is a call to discipleship. By Baptism, we are called to be disciples on the journey and witnesses of the great love and mercy of God. Baptized in Christ, we are reborn of water and the Holy Spirit. And thus, we become followers of Jesus. To follow Jesus is to live out our Baptismal Promises day in and day out so that we may be well pleasing to God forever.
Just as the holy door or porta sancta, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, has been used as a ritual expression of conversion and as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light, so also is Baptism, as a passage from death to life in Christ. And often these rituals are associated with prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice, confession, and indulgences.
On Christmas Day, we celebrated the Birth of Jesus, the Emmanuel, who was born to save us all. The Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, we are led to imitate constantly the Holy Family in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity.
On the Octave Day of the Nativity, the Church honors Mary as the Holy Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. Through Her intercession and maternal protection, may we go closer to Her Son Jesus.
As we continue to relish the remaining days of Christmas, today, we celebrate the Epiphany of Jesus to the nations by the guidance of a star. Just as the Three Wise Men went back to their own land with great joy, may we also in turn accept Jesus to reign in our hearts and life. May we also bring Jesus into our homes and public places so that all nations will come to know Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and for ever!