When I was travelling in India a few years ago, I slept in a comfortable hotel and the person at the reception knowing that I had to get a connecting flight to Bangalore early in the morning offered a wake-up call at a certain time. I took the offer because my trip from Singapore was tiring and I wanted to be sure that I did not miss my connecting flight. The next morning I received the wake-up call and was prepared for my onward journey.
We have all received wake-up calls either at home or while we were travelling. Sometimes they bring us out of a deep sleep. Often they disturb a peaceful dream. Whatever the case, a wake-up call is to alert us to something that is important or something that needs to be attended to.
St. Mark delivers a wake-up call at the beginning of the gospel. With the inclusion of a voice from heaven in verse eleven, Mark tells us exactly where to find God. The voice was for the benefit of the citizens of Jerusalem who had come out to the Jordan to hear John and receive a baptism for the repentance of sins. Both simple and sophisticated people were looking for God. All around us are people who are searching for meaning.
Especially in these days where we have been shaken about the certainty of the ground we are standing on, there are many searching for answers and the meaning of their circumstances.
Some are like those folks who journeyed out to the Jordan to encounter the prophet John and to find the presence of God. Even today, humanity continues to illustrate its’ inability to find God where God is to be found in the Christ.
For those of you who are unaware, we are in the part of the Church calendar called Epiphany. The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child. By so doing, these wise men “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King. [i]
Mark sounds the wake-up call and wants us to know that God has come in human flesh in the person of Jesus. The long-awaited Messiah has come to usher light into the darkness of the world. The heavens are opened and light dawns upon the Promised One who will bring salvation to the world.
[i] [In some Central and South American countries influenced by Catholic tradition, Three Kings’ Day, or the night before, is the time for opening Christmas presents. In some eastern churches, Epiphany or the Theophany commemorates Jesus’ baptism, with the visit of the Magi linked to Christmas.]