Today we celebrate the first event in Jesus’ public ministry—and in it, he allowed himself to be ministered to. It was the moment that the Jewish ritual of repentance became the reality of God’s forgiveness and how we came to receive the Holy Spirit.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Today’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord comes with options for the first and second readings. The first readings are from different parts of the Prophet Isaiah. One echoes the words that the Father speaks at Jesus’ baptism and the other echoes the Gospel (quoting Isaiah) from the second Sunday of Advent—make straight the paths of the Lord. The second readings include a speech from Peter as he is about to baptize the household of a pagan who received the Holy Spirit and a teaching on the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers each of us—not through our own earning, but through our acceptance of Christ’s charitable love toward us. The Gospel is Luke’s version of the Baptism, in which we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all present together at once—the Trinity revealed. It is the moment that a symbolic ritual became reality. It is the moment that God chooses to introduce himself to each of us personally—that we become adopted children of God and receive our vocation to be priest, prophet and king.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
Your baptism day was a huge event for your family! Ask your parents to tell you the story of your baptism—who baptized you, who was there, who are your godparents and why your parents chose them, what baptizing you meant to them.
What our baptism means for us develops and changes throughout our lives. As you get closer to young adulthood, your baptismal call—what God is calling you to become in your life—is probably beginning to grow more clear. Have you begun to discern your vocation? What are some emerging talents, interests, or leanings that you have developing in your heart? Ask God to guide you, ask others what they see in you, and keep noticing what you see emerging in yourself.
Consider the scene of the Trinity revealed in the Gospel. What stands out for you in that short reading? What connection does this scene have for you in your relationship with God?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”