January 3: Genesis
7-9; Matthew 3
We are continuing our journey through the primordial, pre-history of Genesis 1-11. During the flood, God does not forget Noah and the ark. After the flood, God decides not to ever ‘curse the ground because of humankind’ again. God realizes that the flood really did not change humankind: “the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth” (8:21). God will find another way to deal with violence and evil.
John the Baptist bears a message of repentance to Israel, turning from sin, turning to God. He is preparing the way for Jesus. When he cries out, “Bear fruit worthy of repentance,” I ask myself, “How is God calling me to be fruitful in my family, my church, my community? How can we live fruitful lives?” Jesus will help answer those questions.
Jesus’ baptism is a mystery, and each Gospel writer deals with it differently. What is clear is that the baptism is a key event in Jesus’ life: the Spirit descends on Jesus in a visible and audible way at his baptism. Jesus is anointed with the Holy Spirit and God’s verbal affirmation that he is God’s beloved Son.