Notes: Remember that the aim of these meditations of week 2 is to see Jesus more clearly, to love Him more deeply and follow him more closely. Let us not forget the “Introductory Prayer,” the ultimate fruit of this entire exercise. Use this prayer of contemplation to enter into the gospel account of the Baptism of Jesus.
Grace: I ask the Father for three things that I need and that only He can give: a more intimate knowledge of Jesus who has become one of us; a more personal experience of His love for me so that I may love Him more tenderly; and a closer union with Jesus in His mission to bring salvation to humankind.
Reflection: Around thirty years of age, Jesus left his work and home to begin his public ministry. Try to imagine what thoughts he might have had.
Jesus’ public life began with a journey, a kind of pilgrimage. He left his home in Nazareth, and traveled south- east to the River Jordan where he was baptized by John the Baptist. John’s ministry was calling sinners to repentance. John was well known and respected: certainly Jesus knew of John’s message as a prophet of God sent to the Jewish people. Jesus knew what John was doing. Ponder the message that Jesus, the sinless one, chooses to launch his ministry by placing himself in solidarity with sinners. The symbolism of these early verses from the gospel summons up a rich imagery of a pilgrimage along a new way of life. John the Baptist’s ministry is introduced with the words of Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” John calls sinners to repentance and to conversion. It is a word with roots that suggest a “turning point.” John is inviting us to turn in a new direction and to follow a new path in life. At some moment, Jesus makes a conscious and deliberate choice to begin his ministry, to change his worldly life in Nazareth; imagine what might have been going through his mind, what he saw around him to make him feel this was the right moment. Consider too how he chooses to begin his ministry, not with a speech or a miracle, but by traveling to be baptized by John. And also consider the experience of Jesus in the Jordan, His discovery, His understanding of the mission which the Father invites Him to carry out fully.
You can beg the Father to place you with Jesus, His Son, in line with John the Baptist. Imagine that you are one of His companions and that you are right behind Him, because you want to know Him better, love Him more and be more faithful in serving Him and humanity. Try to contemplate the gospel scene. What is John telling us?
Romans 6:3-4. Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so that we too might walk in newness of life.
Luke 3:1-22. “Then what are we to do?” At the moment of His baptism by John God’s voice confirms His sonship and His mission.
Matthew 3:13-17. Jesus, having pondered in His heart the mystery of the Fatherhood of God and the mission given Him by the Father, decides to leave Nazareth. I try to be present to Him as He reaches this decision, shares it with His mother, makes His farewells and leaves all that has helped to form Him as an adult and responsible human being. Let us walk with Him towards the Jordan River and stay on the river bank contemplating His baptism. What is it that I hear? What should I understand?
Closing Colloquy: Make a summary of what I have meditated upon during my time of prayer, talking to Jesus as a friend talks to a friend, being candid with him about the items found at this stage of the journey we have done. End with the Our Father.