What’s In It For God?

... but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit

Mark 1:8
Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7; Psalms 29:1-2,3-4,9-10; Acts 10:34-38; Mark 1:7-11

Sermon Week/Year

The Baptism of the Lord, B

There is an amusing story of a woman who one day decided to read the New Testament and investigate the claims of Christianity. She paid particular attention to The Beatitudes, which motivated her to finally be baptized several months later. Immediately following the ritual she said enthusiastically, “I could feel the Holy Spirit descend on me. I’m glad I’ve finally got religion. I can see things differently, and now when my husband does something that irritates me, instead of blaming him, I just say this little prayer: “Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right — especially when they are always wrong!”

That woman’s mixed up theology and failure to take responsibility are in sharp contrast to today’s Gospel Episode wherein we read Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism: “A voice came from Heaven,” saying, “You are My Son, the Beloved; My favor rests on You” (Mk. 1:11). Indeed, God’s favor rests uniquely on Jesus. For us to realize our share of the…

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