Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all

“The Church does not dispense the sacrament of baptism in order to acquire for herself an increase in membership but in order to consecrate a human being to God and to communicate to that person the divine gift of birth from God.” ― Hans Urs von Balthasar, (Swiss theologian and priest)

Gospel text: (MK 1:7-11)
This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

It is a sad fact of our Christian lives that we rarely give thought to, much less celebrate, our baptism.  Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, a day that calls us to remember our baptism, our own exodus.  The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan marks the beginning of his commission from God.  This is the turning point in the life of Jesus.  Now he begins his public ministry.  Now, standing hip-deep in the muddy waters of the Jordan, he demonstrates his solidarity with us mud-caked sinners.

We can choose each and every day (or not) to make our home in him, as he makes his home in us. This choice will free us and give us a renewed reason to live. It can solve so many difficult dilemmas - struggles we might have about how to behave, to act, to respond. Most importantly, it will give us the grace to do it, because on our own “we can do nothing”  (Jn 15:5). Being with Jesus can really help our heart be more like his heart. We might have said in the past that "I am not a patient person," or "I am rough with other people because I respond with a lot of anger." In communion and immersion into Jesus, we can feel the freedom that comes from the experience of his love and mercy, which he has for each of us personally.

Let us ask, therefore: - Do I recognize his presence, his love in my life? – Do I live a true relationship of filial love with God? Pope Francis says: «What God seeks from us is a relationship like that between a father and child. God give us a caress and tells us: I am by your side». 

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