Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008 ~ The Baptism of the Lord

Matthew 3: 13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."


My children are fascinated by this story. My husband tells it to them over and over. I believe it proves to them that something miraculous happens at Baptisms, even without the dove from Heaven and with babies who cry through the whole rite. But, do I believe it? More singularly, do I believe my Baptism changed me? The curiosity of children surrounding baptism is pure and proper. How can I see baptism through a child's eyes?

Since I have been baptized, there is now an indelible mark on my soul, a mark that claims me for Christ and insists that I live by His teachings. Do I? Do I fully live out my baptismal call to live as He wills? What does my baptismal call mean to me?

It is fitting near the start of a new year that we examine our purpose and goals in carrying out our baptismal call to be Christ to others. How am I faring in my path to sanctity? Do I need to make corrections where I have gone astray? Are my priorities in proper order? How do I share Christ's love with those in my family? with friends? with co-workers? with strangers? Are my New Year's Resolutions all about me or are they about others?

In what ways am I continually growing in sanctity? What personal weaknesses sometimes lead me off course? What are the opportunities in my life that make it possible for me to grow closer to God on a daily basis? Most importantly, what things are (or can be) obstacles to my intimacy with Christ and service to others? Make a list of these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and plan for how to capitalize on the opportunities and eliminate the obstacles this year.

Jesus was baptized to show us His humanity and His divinity all in one moment. The sacrament preceded his Proclamation of the Kingdom here on Earth. May we see our baptism through the eyes of a child once again and recognize that truly something remarkable happens. Let us embrace the graces given to us, so we can truly grow in holiness and greater intimacy with Christ Jesus this year.