Endings And Beginnings

12 Jan

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying, 
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”  (Mt 3:13-15)

There is an old saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I think it can certainly apply to the feast we celebrate this day.

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

On that day, Jesus presented Himself to John the Baptist in the Jordan River. John was reluctant to baptize Jesus; however, Jesus instructed John to continue with the baptism. When baptized, the crowd saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus in the form of a dove and heard the voice of the Father boom from the sky: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

With that, the “private” days of Jesus were over and He began His public ministry. It was the first day of the rest of His life. And, as we found out, it was to be a short life. Within a few years of His baptism, Jesus would be arrested, tried, convicted, and crucified.

The knowledge that was going to happen did not stop Him, though. He was faithful to His Father and embraced the will of God, even though it led to His death.

We are ending our Christmas season today. For the past few weeks, we have celebrated the Nativity of Jesus on Christmas Day, the Holy Family, the adoration of the Magi on the Epiphany of the Lord, and, now, the Baptism of Lord.

Tomorrow, Ordinary Time begins.

Our time, however, is far from “ordinary”. Our lives have been changed radically by the virtue of our own baptism. No longer are we the same people that we were before our baptisms. Our baptism washed away the stain of original sin from our souls, making us daughters and sons of God.

As daughters and sons, we have a responsibility to our heavenly Father. We struggle daily to attempt to do His will. Some days we find that rather easy. Other days we find that incredibly difficult.

We have a wonderful role model, though, in the person of Jesus.

He taught us what it meant to love unconditionally. He taught us what it meant to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. He taught us that we are all friends.

As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we have a responsibility to one another.

May the virtue of our own baptisms help us to embrace God’s will for our lives. May we become a people who proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord by the manner in which we live our own lives.

FAITH ACTION:  Renew your baptismal promises today.

Do you reject Satan?  And all his works?  And all his empty promises?

Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father? 

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?