Before the baptism by the Jordan, there was the baptism in the desert. Before the waters of the river were poured on him by a reluctant prophet, over his head was spilled sand.
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Many years ago when I was still a Jesuit novice, I was assigned to work for a month as an orderly in the charity spinal ward of National Orthopedic Hospital. The nurses were overworked and counted on us to help them out with the non-medical care of the patients. The patients, whose beds were crammed into four wards, had many needs because they were all paralyzed either from the waist down or worse, the neck down.
The Gospel reading today could have been entitled, “A Day in the Life of Jesus.” It’s what biblical scholars would call a typical day in the life of our Lord during his public ministry. It’s a pretty busy day, with lots of people demanding his attention and asking for his help. And generously, almost breathlessly, the Lord responds to them, one after the other.