If the passage from Mark’s Gospel sounds familiar, it’s because we heard part of the same reading a few weeks ago on the Second Sunday of Advent. On that Sunday, we heard John the Baptist talk about the coming of Jesus and the baptism that he would provide-the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John saw Jesus as both mightier than him and more worthy than him, and Jesus said that no one greater than John had ever lived. John saw himself as not being worthy enough to untie the sandals on Jesus’ feet, and that was a task that was dirty and not very appealing according to the culture of that time.
Today, we heard about Jesus’ baptism and the coming of the Holy Spirit on him. John proclaimed Christ’s superiority by distinguishing between his own baptism with water and the baptism that Christ would provide with the Holy Spirit. Several Old Testament passages speak of the Holy Spirit being poured out like water. Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit supplies us with supernatural power just like the Holy Spirit revealed its supernatural power at Jesus’ baptism.