Responsorial Psalm is taken from one of Isaiah’s Psalms 12: 2-6. This psalm is one of thanksgiving and praise, and it is very noticeable that in this first section of Isaiah we come upon reference to God’s proclamation is also for the Gentiles (Us), and this is a major move in Judaism, to be reaching out to the Gentiles as part of God’s plan.
2nd Reading is from the 1st Letter of St. John 5: 1-9. It is sometimes better to just sink into the atmosphere of this letter, that try to follow his logic. Note his absolute insistence on Jesus humanity, hence the insistence on blood and water, which ensures his humanity and so emphasises exactly what a great gift Jesus, God made man, means for us. For John it is summed up as eternal life. We can only realise what God has done for us when we accept not just Jesus as God; but realise that he is God made truly man for our redemption. It is truly awesome to come face to face with God’s great generosity in bestowing himself to us as a vulnerable human being, so he can show us the way to Him. Let us always be truly grateful for such a gift!!
Holy Gospel according to Mark 1: 7-11. John’s message is presented as being all about Jesus’ superiority, John poses himself as his slave, as dealing with sandals was the task of a slave, also Mark has John telling us that Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit, an idea that Mark has yet to explain to us. We must find it puzzling that if Jesus is so superior to John, why does he come to be baptised by John? We see the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descending onto Jesus, and Jesus is publicly affirmed as God’s Son, so it is obviously God’s will that Jesus comes to John. It also shows us how God himself establishes his solidarity with us vulnerable humans in drawing close to God’s mercy. Jesus is there right alongside us in our struggles. He is not a remote God. He is at one with us, so we should not turn away from him in shame; but turn with confidence for him to wash us clean. We see again just how God wants to be at one with us. We can have confidence in his abundant love and care for us. Let us truly rejoice and be glad that he has called us.God Bless you all, particularly in these difficult times. Deacon Vincent.