We are in the period of vows. We present them, we receive them. But these are often agreed words: happiness, health, projects, etc. Or did you hear something surprising, stimulating, unusual this year, something that transcends social habits to indicate a different horizon? And which wishes do you formulate yourself? What expectations do they speak? What face of God is there – even without your knowledge?
Wait for the Messiah ? “It is not for us, it has already come, it is over, the waiting.” He will never come, why wait for him? “It does not concern me, I do not know who it is, I do not know what it will do.”
The Gospel mentions, around John the Baptist, a people waiting. Waiting for what: a political change? better management of economic resources? taking into account the misery of the rural population compared to city dwellers? The text says nothing about it. And because it specifies nothing, it refers to the depth of a spiritual experience that runs through all the scriptures. Yes, the old devotion always counts: walking with God in righteousness and humility and walking to meet the neighbor with the same love that I wish to receive.
But now it is clear that this commitment on the part of people is not realized. The inner contradiction always prevails. If God does not come to help His people in need, the truth will not come from our country. May He send His Messiah! that He fulfills the vows of the elders, whom He redeems from this unbearable confusion between the grain and the useless bag.
When Jesus arrives in the Jordan, Messianic expectations rise as a powerful hope in hearts tired of religious prescriptions. But a surprising contrast appears. Did not John say the prophecy that speaks of a son of man from heaven? And here is a walker like the others … Did John not announce a baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit as a distinctive sign of Messiah? And here is a man who immerses himself in the waters of the Jordan, like so many others …
Luc likes this contrast. There is no question of choosing between John or Jesus; between the expectations associated with the paths, the failures of always and the unconventional realization manifested by the man of Nazareth.
Jesus asks for baptism. He stands in solidarity with those who left from the splendor of the Temple of Jerusalem to join John at the Jordan. Does not this river symbolically mean the arrival of the promised land? Dive into it, does not it acknowledge that this mention was missed? To seek forgiveness, is it not to count with the long-suffering of God?
Jesus stands before God with this people. As a sinner. He does not pretend, neither for people nor for his Father. He takes the lead over our humanity. He takes the lead over the sin of the world.
The air opens, says the evangelist. Not at the time of baptism, but after that. Jesus is in prayer. We do not know his words. Yet we are introduced to a surprising intimacy. The Spirit of God comes to rest on him, like a dove that finally finds a place of rest in humanity, a definitive place of stay. And the voice? She says the presence of Him who wants to be recognized as Father.
This theophany does not resemble the divine manifestations transmitted by the prophets. It shakes expectations. She invites us to remain silent, so that we hear a word that is meant for us as ricochet:“You are my son, my beloved daughter, in you I find my joy.” Would our wishes echo for each other?
Agnes von Kirchbach