Baptism of the Lord, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Mark 1:7-11

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Spirit of God, help us to live as faithful members of your Church.
Open our hearts to the needs of others.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is the Holy Spirit. To begin invite the children to create “Dove Notes.” Provide a simple dove outline cut out of white paper for each child and crayons. On the dove invite the children to write a short note of encouragement to help brighten another child’s day. Then collect the notes and have each child come forward and pick one. Invite volunteers to read aloud their dove note. Discuss:
• What helps to brighten your day?
• Who gives you comfort and support?
• How can you help bring comfort and support to others?

Allow time for discussion. The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in God’s Love. At Baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading listen to how God will send a Spirit-filled Servant to help the people.

Read Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Why will God send a Spirit-filled Servant?
• How is God’s Servant described?
• What will God’s Servant do?

In the gospel reading listen to find out what happens at the Baptism of Jesus.

Read Mark 1:7-11.
Allow for silence.

• What happens at the Baptism of Jesus?
• How does the Spirit descend upon Jesus?
• What does the voice from heaven say?

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

Today’s celebration of the Baptism of the Lord brings the Christmas season to an end. Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of his public ministry.

The first reading from Isaiah tells of a chosen one who will save God’s people. God’s Spirit-filled servant will bring justice upon the earth. God’s servant will remain faithful. Today’s passage is one of the “Servant Songs.” The Christian tradition has found reference here to Jesus’ ministry and to his suffering and death.

At the baptism of Jesus in today’s gospel we find reference to the servant that God has promised. The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus and God announces him to be “my chosen one.” Jesus is sent, by God, to bring healing and justice upon the earth. At his baptism in the Jordan, Jesus is revealed as God’s beloved son.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• How does the Holy Spirit help Jesus to begin his ministry?
• What helps you to be faithful to God?
• How does our Baptism help us to follow Jesus?

[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Holy Spirit

The Spirit was powerfully visible at the baptism of Jesus. That same Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, comes to us at baptism.

We believe that by the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God came down from heaven and was born into the world. The Holy Spirit was sent to the Virgin Mary to bless her womb and fill it with life. Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human.

On the day of Pentecost the Spirit was poured out upon the apostles and the Church was born. By the power of the Spirit, God’s love is made visible in the world through the Church. The Church continues the work that Jesus gave to the apostles. The Holy Spirit helps us to live our faith today.

• What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?
• How does the Holy Spirit help to make God’s love visible in the world?
• Why do we call Pentecost the birthday of the Church?

Sacrament Connection
The Holy Spirit comes to us at Baptism. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Baptism we are welcomed into the Church.

The Gospel in Life
How can you call on the help of the Holy Spirit this week?

Posted in: Sessions B