In 2021, we will read a passage from the Gospel of Mark at Sunday Mass each week. This is the oldest and the shortest Gospel. It is the one that the very early church put together first, with the help of the Evangelist, so as to instruct people in the truth of faith.
This Gospel contains the essential facts about Jesus. It was composed for pagans, probably Romans, to set out the teachings that had been handed down by St Peter who had led the church at Rome. This little Gospel contains everything a pagan must know and live in order to be ready for the great step called Baptism—the leap of conversion necessary to be Christian.
A typical phrase that is repeated in this Gospel characterises what Mark wants to communicate: “The secret of the kingdom of God is given to you but to those who are outside everything comes in parables.”
All of us are on a journey from outside—at different times in our life all of us are puzzled: God’s ways are an enigma which we struggle to understand. Yet, through our Baptism all of us have been brought into a secret—we have by our life of prayer and charity in the Christian community and through her sacraments been given the key to enter into a deep knowledge of Christ, a deep relationship with Him.
Our Baptism, our initiation into this secret of the Kingdom, may have happened when we were a baby—but all of us want to arrive at that moment when this mystery is awakened in us and we come to know Jesus personally by faith.
This is why we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord each year—and our baptism. Year by year we pray that this hidden secret that was given to us mysteriously in baptism will be revealed in our heart and mind and manifested in our life.