Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – Christmastime – Friday before Epiphany – Mark 1:7-11
Moving toward the celebration of Epiphany (“to manifest, disclose, discover, conspicuous“) on which the Magi worship the Christ Child, the Baptism of Christ Jesus is recalled, mysterious and powerful in supernatural visions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit that Christ experiences. In these passages, the Three Persons of the Trinity are present and made manifest (disclosed).
John the Baptist, the long-prophesized forerunner of Christ, has been brought into being by God through his miraculous conception to the barren and elderly Elizabeth and been prepared through his whole life by God to announce Christ Jesus. Because he is the greatest among men born of women (Matt 11:11), John the Baptist recognizes his own unworthiness compared to the hidden Christ; John humbly confesses he is not worthy to attend to Christ’s sandals, the most menial task of the lowest servant in an ancient household.
The baptisms performed by John the Baptist were a ritual which symbolized a person’s repentance from their sins and the hope that God would forgive them. Christ, like men in every way except sin, has no need for baptism; He has no sin to repent. Nevertheless, out of solidarity with mankind and to take on all the sins of the world, Christ submits to be baptized by the unworthy John. The heavens open up (literally, “ripped” or “torn”) and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove and the Father confirms His pleasure with His Son, signaling the long-promised coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist’s many years of austere service to God in the wilderness is rewarded as he is given the consolation to witness the manifestation of the Trinity (John 1:32).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Person of the Trinity, Christ’s divinity is confirmed with the manifestation of God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Perfection of Virtue, Christ humbles Himself before the Father, accepting baptism, even though He has no sin. Savior of the World, Christ heroically embraces the sins of the world that He will carry to the Cross.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) The more a man digs into the life of Christ, the more astounded he becomes. In just one example, marvel at how God prophesizes about John the Baptist, miraculously conceives John in the barren Elizabeth, prepares John the wilderness and brings Christ and John together for the Baptism.
2) Many fail to be awed by Christ’s Real Presence as He resides in the Tabernacle in every parish. Pray for Christ to allow you to experience awe in the presence of His Eucharist and to grow in humility like John the Baptist.
3) Christ’s active and ongoing intercession in the world is often hidden; many men do not recognize the outpouring of Christ’s blessings all around them. Pray that Christ give you a receptive heart, to grant you small glimpses of His many consolations in your life and to help you grow in gratitude.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ
Virtue of the Day – Faith
Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries