The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas season and it is an invitation for us to journey deeper with Jesus into the Life of the Spirit. As we read the stories of John the Baptist’s ministry on the Jordan and in the wilderness, and of Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness, we come to recognise that there is a similar call on our lives to learn how to be alone with God.
Learning how to be alone with God changes us: it changes our sense of expectation, and it changes how we see and what we see.
But we need to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
There were lots of people on the banks of the Jordan when Jesus was baptised, but not everyone heard the Father say “this is my beloved Son, listen to him.”
“After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “you are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13-17
The feast of the Baptism of the Lord is an invitation for us to learn to see and hear the Divine Life more simply and clearly. John the Baptist could hear the Father and see the Spirit descend upon the Son. But John was trained in the wilderness and his heart was expectant. He was full of desire for God and knew how to be alone with God.
In other words, he desired Love and knew how to be present to Love.
The Christian’s life is built on Baptism and prayer. The cleansing power of the death and resurrection of Christ and our growing desire for His Love alone are the gifts that enable us to begin and finish our journey into God.