This week’s Gospel is where we find Jesus being asked to be baptised by John. At his baptism, we learn that Jesus is God’s own Son. Through our Baptism in Jesus’ name, we are made children of God. Through our prayer, we learn what it means to be named “children of God.”
Young people at this age strive to be part of the group. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus shows that he is “part of the group” by entering the waters of the Jordan for a baptism of repentance from sin, even though he was sinless.
Children do any of you have siblings who are infants or toddlers? Describe the types of toys their younger siblings play with.
Little children like to play on the floor with their toys. When they invite us to play with them, we usually get down on the floor so that we can interact with them on their level. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we learn that Jesus did something to show that he was interacting with us at our level.
Why did John the Baptist baptize people? (to grant them repentance from sin) Jesus was without sin, yet he entered the waters of the Jordan River to show that he is one with us. Jesus came to be with us at our level; he entered into the world of sin in order to transform it from within. As we bring the Christmas season to a close, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is one with us and that he invites us, through our Baptism, to share in his ministry of forgiveness of sins.
Last Sunday was Epiphany, when the wise men met Jesus having set out in search of a special king, somebody who would transform their lives. They found the Christ child, paid him homage and offered him gifts, before returning home, transformed and changed by what they had seen and taking the message of salvation with them. The story has an important message for us. Many of us have New Year resolutions to try and improve aspects of our lives. The key message at Epiphany brings us back to meeting Jesus in the manger. It encourages us to meet Jesus afresh and seek to grow our own relationship with God.
Perhaps we are keeping our New Year resolutions, or maybe they have already fallen by the wayside! Developing a growing relationship with God is the resolution that Epiphany invites us to embrace.
Epiphany is widely celebrated in many countries across Europe. During assembly, we shared some of the activities that take place, including the Greek river race, where the swimmers race for the cross thrown into the water by a priest and in which one of our children has taken part!
See You on Sunday at Mass. Fr Marcin and Andrew Olive, Headteacher
Closing prayer: We pray that we will always be faithful to our baptismal promises to be disciples of Jesus. and we recommit ourselves to the promises made at Baptism by having each person bless himself or herself with holy water. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.
(Father Marcin and I have agreed that it would be good if the parish knew a little more about what is happening in school and the school community had the benefit of Fr Marcin’s thoughts on the week’s Gospel:)
In the Matthew 3:1-17 bible lesson for kids, John the Baptist started a ministry in the wilderness, preaching repentance and baptism. Many people ventured out to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. As word spread about his ministry, the religious leaders came out as well, but they came out for show, not because they were truly repentant. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees that a man would come after him who would baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire. He continued his warnings saying that God would not be fooled by their act. Many who witnessed this wondered who John the Baptist was talking about. One day, as John the Baptist was in the Jordan River baptizing those who had come out to see him, a man from the town of Galilee appeared. John immediately knew who this man was: He was Jesus, the promised Messiah. Confused, John asked Jesus why He would ask him to perform His baptism, when John should be asking Jesus to baptize him. Jesus responded that it is right to do all that God requires. John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and as soon as he emerged from the water, the Heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and came to rest on Jesus. Then, the Father’s booming voice was heard from Heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
‘This is my Son, the Beloved’
Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John . John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.
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.’
At Jesus’ baptism, God affirms his Son’s mission for salvation. God announces his pleasure with Jesus and, in Matthew’s Gospel, announces to all that, “This is my beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17). With this affirmation, Jesus is able to resist the temptations described next in Matthew’s Gospel and to begin his public ministry. As family members, we can support one another in our Christian living by affirming the importance of each person in our eyes and in God’s. Confident that through our Baptism we too were made children of God, we can resist temptation and share in Christ’s mission.
Gather as a family to read today’s Gospel, Matthew 3:13-17. Recall that God’s message about Jesus was meant for us, “This is my beloved Son.” It was also an affirmation for Jesus about his role in God’s plan.
Place each family member’s name on a slip of paper and put the names in a bowl. Invite each person in the family to choose another family member’s name and to prepare a message for that person, affirming their importance in God’s eyes and in your family life. Pray together that your family will continue to support one another in your baptismal promises to be disciples of Jesus and then invite each person to read aloud the message they prepared. Conclude by praying together the Lord’s Prayer.