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Finding Renewal in the New Year

January 10, 2021   The Baptism of the Lord (Lectionary: 21)

Reading I   Is 42:1-4, 6-7
Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

OR:

Is 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,

and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm   Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

OR:

Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Reading II   Acts 10:34-38
Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”

OR:

1 Jn 5:1-9

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three that testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.

Alleluia   Cf. Jn 1:29
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
John saw Jesus approaching him, and said:
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Mk 1:7-11
This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

By Claudia Rodriguez 

Jesus opens my eyes through today's readings and reminds me that his spirit is with me and that his word shall not return void. Each of today’s readings strike me in different ways, but it is the Gospel where the Lord pierces my heart.  

The past two months of my life have been quite difficult emotionally and mentally.

By the grace of God I have come face to face with areas of my life where I need healing.

What has allowed this grace to be activated is time in adoration where I take only myself and let him speak to me, daily prayer and having the Lord show me where holy detachment is needed for me to keep growing and healing. I have handed over this healing to the Lord with full conviction that Jesus heals and wants to heal me.

My healing is coming through revisiting my memories and discovering where the roots of my current pains lie. Jesus and I are going deep, and I have handed him the rotten roots of these memories so he can spring life back into them. I find myself truthfully, as the psalm states, “[drawing] water joyfully from the springs of salvation.” For as I draw near to Jesus, he draws near to me.

So, it does not surprise me that out of all the readings for today I am drawn to the Gospel. I am captivated by the image of Jesus submerged in the river Jordan. Picture this with me.  He is down in the depths of the water’s darkness looking up towards the sky, but seeing it through a haze and his senses dulled. In just a short amount of time, he comes out seeing the heavens being torn open. His face is mesmerizing - radiant with joy as he comes out of the water’s darkness. Even the water is transformed and is now holy and purified. All is made new and the Spirit in power comes and descends upon him. 

I cannot help but see myself in that moment.

I see the darkness I have been walking in.  I see myself coming out and looking up, my inward and outward gaze finally redirected to see the piercing gaze of love in Jesus’ eyes.  The  Father’s eyes. All the scales of sin that have blinded me are broken down by the healing waters of baptism, by the blood of our Lord, and by the truth brought forth by the Holy Spirit.  Like Jesus, I hear the Father’s voice saying to me “You are my beloved daughter; with you I am well pleased.” Truth reigns over all the lies of the enemy that have attempted to keep me submerged in darkness.

My sight is restored, and I am no longer walking in a haze. All my senses are restored so that the Lord can renew his everlasting covenant with me. My sight is restored to see as Jesus sees and act as he acts. I am filled with the grace to approach the tribulations of life with peace and trust. I see more clearly the mission of restoration and healing he is setting forth for my life.

May today’s readings bring renewal of the life and love of Christ in all. Amen. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Claudia Rodriguez loves her family and friends. She is known for loving to bring people together so they can connect with one another. Having one on one's is one of her favorite ways of spending her time. She loves coffee shops, books, reading her poetry and being a volunteer editor for Chastity Project. It is good to know that if you give her a good cup of blended dirty chai lavender latte she will love you forever. She loves volunteering for her parish and going out with friends after. In the past, she has worked as an English teacher and in ministry and is currently rediscovering her passions and learning to dream again. The Lord is her Shepherd.

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