The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)
I received an email a couple weeks ago from a young woman asking to be baptized at St. Thomas, the parish I serve in the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
She did not grow up in a religious household, but she has pursued deeper and deeper spiritual engagement and is now led to make a mature commitment to Christianity.
In the Daily Office readings this morning, I couldn’t help reflecting on her request as I read about Peter’s vision regarding the Gentiles. When he arrived at Cornelius’ house, he saw that the Holy Spirit had come into their lives, too. He asks, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing from those who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:47).
This young woman knows that the Spirit is in her life, and that Spirit is moving her to make a public act of faith.
Jesus himself makes the same public act in this evening’s reading from “the beginning of the good news” according to Mark.
The Spirit is surely already present in the life of the Son of God, just as the Spirit “proceeds from the Father” — Jesus does not need baptism in order to receive the Spirit, but the Spirit moves him to reveal his identity in a public way.
And what is that identity? “You are my Son, the Beloved,” says the voice from heaven; “with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).
All of us who are baptized into the Body of Christ share in his identity as Beloved.
I look forward to the day — soon, I expect — when we will welcome another Beloved daughter into the fellowship of Christ’s Body.