16 Jan Thursday
In the gospel of John, we are not actually told of the baptism of Jesus itself. We do have John’s witness to whom Jesus — his full identity, known through proclamation and faith. It is implied in the text that John baptized Jesus. Jesus comes to “take away the sins of the world”, and “he is the Son of God.”
Jesus is given these two facts by the overshadowing/outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which makes the passage very trinitarian. In other words, to know Jesus is iniitmately engaged in knowing the Father and the Spirit. So often in American religion, the Father receives little notice or attention, and the Holy Spirit receives attention mostly in Pentecostal or charismatics movements.
The homily might take this opportunity to clarify John’s claims by proclamation of the Trinity as the true source of our “grace and peace”, as St. Paul wishes upon the Corinthians in the opening of his letter. Stories of baptisms in the family, baptisms that really start out, baptisms at the Easter Vigil work well here. These baptisms draw us into relationships and bonding which leads to bearing witness. From where else does the Church receives its power to evangelize?