Are you longing to hear God’s voice? What would it be like to hear God call you by name? For many it seems that God spoke to people long ago and far away, but now in this time and place God’s voice is much less clear and less audible. Perhaps we cannot hear the voice of God because our world is full of noise? Perhaps we are not open to the particular frequency in which God chooses to call us? Perhaps we continually tune out this heavenly summons with our daily rush, not taking the time to quiet ourselves, our minds, our inner voices. We can use this time after Epiphany to clear out a corner of our lives for quiet prayer, meditation, or centering. Maybe then we will be able to hear . . . to sense . . . to listen.
Listen! God’s voice comes from heaven to call us by name, speak to the earth, shake the wilderness, and to anoint “the Beloved.” Listen! God’s people speak words of covenant, commitment, and community in the liturgy of baptism. Listen! God’s word surrounds this day with power and majesty and “in the temple of the Lord all are crying, ‘Glory!’” (Ps. 29:9). In this season of epiphanies, today’s miraculous encounter with the living God immerses us in the sound of God’s voice and bathes us in God’s baptismal promise. All who are splashed by this water gasp, cry, exclaim, sigh, and sing. Let all who have breath, praise the Lord!
Gospel: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
The reading opens with questions about the identity of the Messiah. John the Baptist insists that he is not the Messiah; instead he points ahead to one who is coming. And whether the voice of God was heard by all or only by Jesus, God settles the matter: Jesus is God’s beloved Son.
15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”