First reading 1 John 5:5-13

There are three witnesses: the Spirit and the water and the blood

Who can overcome the world?
Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:
Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,
not with water only,
but with water and blood;
with the Spirit as another witness –
since the Spirit is the truth –
so that there are three witnesses,
the Spirit, the water and the blood,
and all three of them agree.
We accept the testimony of human witnesses,
but God’s testimony is much greater,
and this is God’s testimony,
given as evidence for his Son.
Everybody who believes in the Son of God
has this testimony inside him;
and anyone who will not believe God
is making God out to be a liar,
because he has not trusted
the testimony God has given about his Son.
This is the testimony:
God has given us eternal life
and this life is in his Son;
anyone who has the Son has life,
anyone who does not have the Son does not have life.
I have written all this to you
so that you who believe in the name of the Son of God
may be sure that you have eternal life.
 

Responsorial Psalm 147:12-15,19-20

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
or
Alleluia!
 
O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
  Zion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates
  he has blessed the children within you.
 
He established peace on your borders,
  he feeds you with finest wheat.
He sends out his word to the earth
  and swiftly runs his command.
 
He makes his word known to Jacob,
  to Israel his laws and decrees.
He has not dealt thus with other nations;
  he has not taught them his decrees.
 
 

Gospel Mark 1:6-11 

‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you’

In the course of his preaching John said:
  ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
  It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’
 
 
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A lesson in humility

“Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am.” With these words stated clearly by John the Baptist, there was an expectation that when Jesus came, He would be coming in lording it over John. However, the gospel tells us that Jesus did not do that. Instead, He was humble enough to recognise John as God’s appointed instrument to prepare the way for Him. Thus, Jesus trusted in what God had planned for Him and humbly obeyed to be baptised by John. Through His trusting obedience, Jesus was affirmed as the Beloved Son of God.

As followers of Jesus, let us also take on His humble attitude in not despising or dismissing others, especially those we consider to be ‘below’ us in status, intelligence or virtue. Instead, let us be open to recognise God working through anyone and everyone. We pray for the grace to begin this year with a humble and obedient heart to God and His plan, trusting, like Jesus did, in the deep love that the Father has for us.

Reflective question:
How can I exercise humility today?

Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year B” by Sr Monika Punan FMVD.