Baptism of the Lord
First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7
Isaiah was called the fifth evangelist
by the early Church scholars
because he described so many facets
of the personality of Jesus.
Today’s reading inserted on the Feast of the Lord’s baptism is no exception.
Isaiah talks of the suffering servant
who is called by God for the “victory of justice.”
Until that justice is established,
the servant/messiah is “Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.”
Then in two striking images Isaiah says of the servant,
“A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.”
Have you ever seen a broken branch hold on
by the most fragile of threads?
The servant, Jesus, will bind it up
in a symbol of binding and healing of God’s people.
Like the poet Hopkins, he “will not loose this last strand of man.”
Again, think of a sputtering candle.
A strong wind or even a breath will blow it out.
But Jesus is pictured as cupping the tiny flame and ever so gently breathing it back into flame.
Jesus isn’t the only one called by Baptism
to be God’s instrument of binding, healing and breathing life
back into wounded and forgotten people.
We too are called by our baptism in Jesus
to be God’s instruments to bind, heal and breathe life
into wounded and discouraged people
who are hanging by the last thread.
Do we know these people?
May Jesus give us the heart to see them
and watch what happens
when we say “yes” and get involved.