You Are Radiant

The Baptism of the Lord

First Reading: Isaiah 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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

R. 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.

Second Reading: 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.”

Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”


jan 10

My prayer book includes a beautiful homily from Saint Gregory of Nazianzus for this feast, and I turn it to again and again. In it, Saint Gregory invites us to participate in the Baptism of Our Lord: “You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven.”

That kind of glory is incredibly difficult to envision. Heaven-opening, God-speaking, dove-descending glory. But we are bathed in it. We are living in that glory every single day. If I imagine myself standing on the banks of the Jordan, I think there’s no way I would miss the main event. Obviously, I would realize I had witnessed a moment of revelation. But then I remember, I am living in the presence of this revelation every day. I’m always standing with Christ, and so often, I miss the radiant light just by not paying enough attention. If I had been baptized that day, would I have missed that moment, too?

Like the people in the gospel, I am filled with expectation, but when my eyes are turned away from Jesus, my expectations get reset to what this world offers. But John’s expectations remain high and turned toward heaven. The crowds are clamoring for Christ, and John doesn’t want them to settle for less. Don’t look for a prophet, John is saying, when the Messiah walks in your midst.

High expectations. They can sound dangerous, like the set-up for a fall. But we need to keep our spiritual expectations high to see the glory God offers us a share in. When we settle for the earthly good, when our expectations are low, we can miss Jesus’s invitation to stand by His side and be blessed with the very benediction the Father speaks over Him.

We are called to stand in His light and share in his life. We are the daughters of a God who calls us beloved. With us, He is well-pleased.

Christ’s light pours over you every day. What is His glory illuminating in your life? How can you radiate that light for others to see today?

Brigid Hogan loves the view of the Washington Monument from her apartment, her standing desk, the Green Bay Packers, and a good mystery. She tolerates taking the Metro to the office, where she works as a communications consultant. You can find out more about her here.

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