Day 154: The Baptism of Jesus

Mark 1:1-3 These first words of Mark unequivocally identify Jesus as the Son of God and as the Messiah foretold by the prophets. Christ is the “good news” (Gospel) sent from God the Father since it is through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection (the “Paschal Mystery”) we are redeemed. This Good News is entrusted to the Church to be announced to all people. (CCC 422, 515, 571, 763)

Ch 1:4-8 John the Baptist is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the preacher in the wilderness, calling people to prepare the way for their Savior (cf. Is 40:3). John is considered the last and greatest of the prophets. John’s austere life of prayer and penance made him a strong witness to the Lord’s coming. John, however, considered himself unworthy even to be associated with the Messiah. Although John’s baptism was one “of repentance” rather than sacramental, it called people to conversion and pointed to the definitive Baptism from Christ, which would forgive sin through the Holy Spirit. (CCC 523, 719-720)

Ch 1:6 John’s clothing reminds us of the prophet Elijah, who wore a garment of haircloth and a girdle of leather. The prophet Malachi had foretold that Elijah would return to announce the arrival of the Savior (cf. Mal 4:1-5). Christ identified Elijah as John the Baptist in the sense that the “spirit” of Elijah rested upon him. (CCC 719)

Ch 1:9-11 God entered into the world through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God the Son, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. The baptism of Christ was the first explicit manifestation of the Blessed Trinity: the physical presence of the Son, the voice of the Father, and the Holy Spirit represented by the dove. (CCC 151, 422)

Ch 1:11-13 The temptation of Christ is reminiscent of the temptations of Adam and Eve among the wild beasts in the garden and of the Israelites, who wandered in the desert for forty years. Christ, however, as the New Adam and founder of the New Israel, i.e., the Church, was perfectly faithful and obedient to the will of the Father and overcame the temptations of Satan. (CCC 538-539)

Ch 1:12-13 We find angels throughout the Old Testament preparing and assisting to carry out God’s plan. Throughout his earthly ministry, angels surrounded Christ, serving him and adoring him; at the end of time, they will be with him as they announce his Second Coming and the Last Judgement. (CCC 333, 351)

Ch 1:14-20  Repent and believe in the Gospel: The Greek metanoia means a profound conversion of heart. This grace of conversion and the capacity for holiness is conferred to the faithful in Baptism. The Apostles’ prompt acceptance and unconditional response to the call of Christ exemplifies the proper dispositions to embrace discipleship. Repentance is not reserved for only the beginning of the Christian life but must be a CONSTANT DISPOSITION throughout each day of our lives. Lent is a special time to elicit conversion through prayer and penance. (CCC 541, 1422-1423, 1427)

Ch 1:17 Follow me: These words indicate the nature of their calling to win others for Christ. The Apostles were called to preach in the name of Christ with the aim of bringing the Gospel to all people. The call of Christ to discipleship is direct and personal. (CCC 787)

Ch 1:21-22 On the sabbath he entered the synagogue: Although he was accused of breaking the law of the Sabbath (especially the Sabbath prohibition of work), Christ not only observed the Mosaic Law but elevated it to its fullest meaning. (CCC 2173)

Ch 1:23-28 Teachers of the Mosaic Law would invoke the authority of another well-known teacher, and Jewish exorcists would cast out demons on another’s authority. Christ, however, taught with his own authority (cf. Mk 1:22) and cast out spirits in his own name (cf. Mk 1:27). (CCC 438)

An EXORCISM is an act of the Church in which she authoritatively and publicly asks God, in the name of Jesus, to cast out an evil spirit from the dominion of a person or an object and to protect that person or object from the power of the Devil. Christ performed exorcisms as a part of his healing ministry. A “minor exorcism” is prayed within the Rite of Baptism, whereas a more solemn exorcism can be performed only by a bishop or by a priest designated by his bishop (cf. ClC 1171) (ClC is Latin for “Codex luris Canonici'' which means Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite. For Eastern Rites of the Church it is CCEO which is abbreviated Latin for “Corpus Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium” 🤯). (CCC 1673)

Ch 1:29-39 Christ identifies himself with those who suffer, and his healing work was an extension of his love and mercy.

A lonely place: Christ often sought out private spaces for solitude and prayer. The Church invites us to do the same, to set aside time within the routine of each day for private prayer, meditation, and public worship. (CCC 2602, 2616, 2698)

Ch 1:35 By his example Christ taught us how to pray. He frequently spent time alone in prayer, especially before important events in his ministry. (CCC 520)

Ch 1:40-41 Christ often healed by his touch; today he continues to offer us his healing “touch” through his Sacraments. In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the bishop or priest anoints the sick person with oil on the forehead and hands, saying, “May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” (CCC 1504-1505, 2616)

Ch 2:1-12 At that time it was commonly believed that illness or disability was the result of sin, either by the individual who suffered or by his family. Correcting this misperception, Christ taught us the redemptive power of suffering, which, united to his Passion, becomes a path for conversion and holiness. The story also confirms Christ’s divinity. Since only God can forgive sins and only God can instantaneously heal a paralytic, Christ’s healing of the paralytic proved his divine authority to forgive sins. There are two kinds of illnesses-spiritual and physical- which are addressed in the two Sacraments of Healing: Penance and Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. Note that unlike the leper in the last chapter, the “prayer” for the paralytic is expressed silently in the actions of his bearers, who demonstrate faith by their persistence. (CCC 1421, 1502-1503, 2616)

Ch 2:5 Seeing the faith of those who had brought the paralytic to him, Christ offered his forgiveness. Likewise, parents and godparents bring a child to the Sacrament of Baptism, which cleanses the infant of both Original Sin and actual sin. In words similar to those addressed to the paralytic, Christ forgives us through the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation today: “I absolve you from your sins…” Personal, private confession is the norm for reconciling ourselves with God and the Church for sins committed after Baptism. (CCC 1441, 1484)

Ch 2:7 By claiming to forgive sins, Christ put himself on a par with God. This claim prompted some of the Jewish authorities to accuse him of blasphemy. Blasphemy and false prophecy were serious crimes under the Mosaic Law; they called for the perpetrator to be stoned to death. (CCC 430, 574, 589, 1441)

Ch 2:8 Perceiving in his spirit...within themselves: Christ knows the hidden thoughts and intentions of human beings. (CCC 473)

Ch 2:13-17 Tax collectors were Jews hired by the Romans to exact tribute from the people. They were loathed for cooperating with the Romans and had a reputation for being dishonest. For these reasons, observant Jews would have no dealings with them. Christ welcomed sinners since, as the divine physician, his mission was to take away their infirmity of sin and to bestow upon them everlasting life. (CCC 574, 545, 1484, 1503)

Ch 2:15-17 In contrast to the Pharisees who looked down on and separated themselves from sinners, Christ actively sought them out. Just as a physician is called to heal the sick, he came to heal sinners. (CCC 1503)

Ch 2:19 Bridegroom: To describe his total gift of self to every member of the Church, Christ used the image of the spousal love a groom has for his bride, which, in this metaphor, is the Church.

Fasting: Christ did not condemn the practice of fasting here; rather, he stressed that his disciples should be joyful that he was present among them in the flesh. Catholics fast in preparation for Holy Communion and in Lent, preceding the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter. Canon law requires, as a minimum, a one-hour fast before RECEIVING Holy Communion and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (CCC 796)

Ch 2:23-28 Christ instructed the Pharisees on the full meaning of the law of the Sabbath, affirming that honoring God includes serving the needs of the person. (CCC 582)

Psalm 11 This psalm elaborates on the apparent lack of interest by God raised in Psalm 10. Some people doubt that God exists; others concede that there is a God but that he is uninterested in human affairs. Nevertheless, this psalm professes that God is not indifferent to right and wrong but is quite attentive to every human act, thought, and desire. He wills what is good and, though the forces of evil may seem to have the upper hand, ultimately God’s justice and mercy will prevail without detracting from the free will of his people. In fact, God’s will is accomplished in conjunction with the exercise of human freedom; his justice will ultimately be exercised at the Final Judgement. In the meantime, we trust in God and seek to be righteous in his eyes. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, January 24, 2004)

In the Lord I take refuge: From verse 4, it becomes clear that the psalmist was taking refuge in the Temple, the house of God, where he will find protection, comfort, and justice, The psalm is attributed to David and may represent a time when he was fleeing from his enemies. 

Behold his face: To see the face of God in this context means to have direct access to him for it is in the vision and beatitude of God that we find our greatest fulfillment and happiness. The just seek his face, while the wicked try to hide from him. (CCC 163, 314, 2548, 2595) 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much. Gosh Lord, thank you so much for revealing your Son to us. Thank you for giving your Son to us. You so loved the world that you gave your only Son, that all who believe in Him might not perish but might have eternal life. And so we thank you and we give you praise. Thank you for these next seven days. Thank you for this day where we just get to hear the words of the Gospel writer, Mark. Thank you so much for giving to us the good news, the opportunity to hear this good news. So please receive our praise. Help us to be converted. Call us to be your disciples, to follow after you with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love you with everything we are and everything we have. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Dustin's Insights 

Mk. 1:

Mk. 2:

My Study Color Code

Suffering, Martyrdom Places The Church, Sacraments, Divinity Horticultural Imagery People Messianic Kingship Sin, Death, Decay