In 2003, these Personal Notes for the Baptism
of Jesus focused on the vocation of
Different from 2003 and 2004, 2005 has a dual vocational
focus, first openness to new ways of understanding, as new insights appear,
second courage to proceed when one does not understand. Saint John the Baptist
had that courage when he baptized
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Isaiah 42 begins Second Isaiah, written in exile. The first four verses portray the Messiah as
a servant of God. The Gospel of Matthew
explains that this servant of God, in the person of
The Lectionary draws attention to Isaiah 42:1, my chosen one with whom I am pleased and
The beloved son is
an essential background reference to
Second Isaiah in the person of the prophet, demonstrates new
insight, when, from exile, he portrays the Messiah as not crying out, not shouting (Isaiah 42:2). The Jews wanted a Messiah to bring them out
of exile; they certainly were in no mood to expect the Gentile,
Isaiah 42:1-4 enriches what will become the third beatitude,
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” The Messiah, then, has a law-observant and
non-violent vocation. Well, maybe. Perhaps current versions of pacifism overly
influence such an understanding.
Pay, pray, and obey Christianity may
also overly influence such an understanding.
In any event, contemplating the Beatitudes with the Baptism of Jesus
helps understanding the vocation of
The Isaian promise of the Messiah contains a utility for learning about God. The notion of meekness is useful for teaching. Jesus says, “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Jesus means he will not hurt the learner. Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Isaiah 42:6-7 pertain to the priestly vocation commission in
Acts 26:18. The priest is called both to
be righteousness and to teach about righteousness. The priest becomes a covenant between God and
the Faithful. The priest is a light to
The first priest is
Isaiah 42:7 about bringing out from the dungeon, those who live in darkness is about Poor Clare
light, shining from Mount Saint Francis in
Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 9-10
The Lectionary only uses Psalm 29, one of the ancient
here. Cycle B for the Baptism of Jesus uses
Isaiah 12:2-3, 43b c d, 5-6 rather than any psalm at all. Cycle C uses Psalm 104, both here and at
Easter and Pentecost. Notes only
began part way though Cycle A at Pentecost,
Psalm 29 promises peace to the Faithful from God, whose very throne rests “upon the subdued waters of chaos.” Peace is an attribute of whoever may be in charge. The irony is that when the Faithful give themselves to their God, their God gives them charge of themselves. Divine peace enables the Faithful to exhibit courage in the face of new insights, for example with the insight that the ordinaries in charge of their dioceses colluded with sexual misconduct by cover up.
Are any ordinaries exculpated from the cover-up? I do not pretend to know. I do know it is the Faithful, not the ordinaries, crying to heaven for justice in this matter. That knowledge grieves my heart.
Just before Psalm 29:9c, the Lectionary draws
attention that The God of glory thunders
in parallel with Matthew 3:17, a voice of
heaven came from the heavens. Third
Isaiah begins to change the meaning of
Acts 10:35, anointing with
the Holy Spirit and power, also applies to the Faithful as they cut their
own ways through the morass of evil with which they must contend. In
The Lectionary uses thundered, though the reference to
The Gospel of Matthew begins by establishing that
In this spirit,
In his sermon, “That Prayer is to be Placed Before all Things,” Saint Basil the Great (330-379), Bishop of Caesarea and one of the Four Great Eastern Doctors of the Church, proclaims, “I have committed many sins, and taken no notice of them.” This proclamation as a reference to material sins arising from unconscious acts suits even Poor Clare nuns, to say nothing of yours truly. Isaiah 42:1 leaves the impression that righteousness is directly dependent upon God. For Jesus, there would have been no sin, not even unconscious material sin, but for John the Baptist, who knows? After all, he was jumping around in his mother’s womb.
At our parish Masses, the Faithful frequently hear about evil
thoughts in sermons. The Venerable Bede
(672-735), Priest and Doctor elaborates.
Evil thoughts come in three kinds.
One is deliberation to commit sin.
Another is dallying with deliberation without committing the sin. Finally, are plain distractions that prevent
the mind from focusing on God, as
The meaning of these readings is courage in the face of new
insights, both personal and societal. Second
Isaiah has to stand up to change the perceived notion of the coming Messiah. The enthronement psalm refers more to the
inward hearts (and thoughts that concern parish sermons) of the Faithful than
exterior grandeur and shouting.  In the Acts of the Apostles,
For more on sources see the Appendix file, which will be
updated sometime after Christmas. I
completed these Notes
 Richard J. Clifford, S.J., “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (January 1993 ) 15.
 Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the `Miracle Chapters’ of Mathew 8-9," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 563.
 Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the “Miracle Chapters” of Mathew 8-9," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 564.
W. R. G. Loader, “Son of
J. Ferguson, Moral Values in the
Ancient World (London: Methuen, 1958) as cited in footnote 47 in