John the Baptist is one of the most important figures in Christianity, and provides a window into the tradition of the Jewish priesthood and the historical context of the day. John chose the river Jordan to baptize, a conscious move to display the forgiveness of sins against the backdrop of the Jewish history of Exodus and liberation. Yet while he was baptizing in the desert, likely an exercise in protest of the corruption in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was heralding the coming of Christ, one who will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Mass Readings

Reading 1 – Isaiah 49:1-6 
Psalm – Psalm 139:1B-15
Reading 2 – Acts 13:22-26
Gospel – Luke 1:57-66, 80