Sunday Gospel - Baptism of the Lord -
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’
I wonder if expectancy was also growing in Jesus? If the faith of his parents, that had taught him love, trust and integrity, had also taught him that there was something else; that inside him was a place waiting to be filled.
This was not a 'coming' for Jesus; not even a 'coming out'. There is no reason to believe that this baptism was for the sake of appearances. John knows both his cousin and the Holy Spirit, yet know nothing of what is to come.
John follows the vocation of his birth; he calls and Jesus responds; wanting to be part of John's vision; to help prepare the way for the Lord.
The baptism with water is only the beginning; the willingness to stand before others and be made clean; to stand in the river and be moved by its energy and its restlessness.
Luke tells us this baptism is not enough; Jesus is still Jesus. To be washed is to be made ready. To stand in the river is to sense the movement of creation yet not to be part of that movement; like a willow soaking up the life force of journeys it has never made.
Jesus knows this too. So before he uproots himself from this new beginning he prays. With the fire of passion he prays; opening his heart; pleading for guidance; offering himself to his Father's will.
Oh, the pride of his Father; and all so delighted with his Beloved that even the Holy Spirit takes physical form so as to embrace Jesus. All of the Sacred Trinity in one space; in one witnessing of divine love; of entranced recognition.
This was the beginning. John's gift of baptism - the catalyst- the means to cast off into the deeper life.
And so, Jesus becomes a boat; oars cast aside in faith. Jesus becomes driven by the wild breath of the Spirit casting throught the swirling currents of the Father's will.
Jesus, the Son; the Beloved; the Unexpected.