Finding Our Way Again and Again – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Mark 1:4-11

Jesus and John have known one another since they were children. Today we remember their encounter at the Jordan River, both of them now about 30 years old. Their parents have talked to one another about their boys since before they were born. John is the miracle son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who were old enough to be his great grandparents; and Jesus is the miracle son of Mary who “reportedly” conceived him through an angel, not with her husband, Joseph. John’s parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, are Jesus’ aunt and uncle.

Jesus and John bear both the blessing and the burden of their destinies. Their lives were prophesied to be great: John was predicted to be the Messiah’s “advance man,” the Messiah’s “forerunner,” to set the stage. Jesus was predicted to be the Messiah. How can this be?[i]

The stories about angels and the miraculous conceptions of these two cousins are undoubtedly the makings for small town gossip and, I imagine, eye-rolling derisive humor, and people’s incredulity. If Jesus and John were supposed to be these bionic boys, why did they appear so normal and unspectacular, disappointing even? What would it have been like for these two cousins to grow up in each other’s shadows, most likely to live in close proximity, never finding their voices for almost 30 years, which is approaching old age in their own day?[ii] Their lives had been shrouded with such mystery, and speculation, and derision about their iden­tities and their destinies. Neither of them married. Neither of them was all-that-special, really, at least for men who were supposed to become so great. What did they know about each other? What did they think about each other? How did they talk to one another? We don’t know. Read More

Sermon for the Baptism of Christ – Br. David Allen

This is the sermon I had written for this morning at the Bethany Convent of the Sisters of St. Anne in Arlington, MA.  I have been sick in bed and with our current cold weather I was not able to go to the convent to preach this morning, but I felt that I would like to share the message that I put together after several days of meditation on the appointed Gospel reading and the theme for this Sunday.

– David Allen, SSJE

davidallen_1[Mk 1:4-11]

On this first Sunday of Epiphany the Baptism of Jesus can be understood as a manifestation of Christ.

Mark’s Gospel brings together the O.T. Prophecy of Jesus birth and John the forerunner’s ministry. Without delay we read, “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  (Cf. Mk. 1:4, 10-11) Read More

The Risks of Baptism – Br. David Vryhof

Br. David VryhofFeast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ

Mark 1:4-11

Take a moment to remember the last baptism you witnessed.  Perhaps you can recall the proud parents and godparents, dressed in their Sunday best, standing around the baptismal font.  In their arms they hold their young, freshly-bathed child, hoping that she won’t create a fuss.  Before them stands the minister or priest, neatly dressed in suit and tie, or robe, or colorful vestments.  The font stands ready.  The congregation looks on with curiosity and pleasure, wondering how the child will respond to what is about to happen.  The atmosphere is peaceful and serene.  It is a family occasion, a beautiful moment that will long be remembered. Read More

The Baptism of Jesus – Br. Curtis Almquist

Mark 1:4-11

Delivered by Br. David Vryhof.

We hear that John and Jesus meet up with one another along the Jordan river.  This must have been shocking for both of them.  John and Jesus are cousins, and both of them are now about 30 years old, which is well advanced in years for that time – and they have known each other since their infancies.  Read More