Daily Reflection – 1/6/2023
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.” (Mark 1: 7-11)
John the Baptist was a man with a mission. Every aspect of his life was given to preparing the way of the Lord. Every fiber of his being yearned to see that day arrive. Be it by penance, preaching, or repentance, he did everything he could to prepare others for the Messiah’s coming. Because his heart yearned for Christ, it made his every action glow with authenticity. What joy must have filled him when, as Mark writes, “It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.” The day he longed for had finally arrived!
Isn’t there a part of John in each of us? Aren’t we all yearning for Christ’s coming into our lives. But we need not look far off. By our baptism, Christ has already taken our hand; we already belong to him! Our response to this unmerited gift is our baptismal commitments, namely, to preach the Gospel and to strive for holiness.
But don’t we all sometimes shirk from that response. “Living out the Gospel and striving for holiness”?
How can we?
Baptism gives the certainty for which each of us yearns: Christ is here, he has come into our lives, he has seized our souls, and will remain with us unless we deliberately turn away from him by grave sin. Even then, he awaits and pursues us to restore us to his intimate friendship.
Do you wonder about this world in which we live? At times, it sure doesn’t feel as if enough of us are living that Gospel.
That’s a tragedy for us and our world.
If we did try harder to live that baptismal commitment, the world would become transformed. Equally as important, we would be transformed. Ideologies of violence, tendencies towards corruption, desires for power and possessions would steadily be removed from our hearts.
Instead, our eyes would be opened to the needs of others. They too yearn for Christ, just as those who gathered alongside the Jordan to hear Saint John preach. The greatest gift we can give them is, like the Baptist, to point them to the Lamb of God — it is Christ alone who can satisfy the thirst of every human heart!
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, I want to take a moment to thank you for your wonderful gift of baptism, the moment when you opened for me the doors to heaven, the moment from which I can be called one of your followers. Through my baptism I can be truly called a Christian! Help me to be worthy of this calling. Strengthen me today with your grace and presence. Guide me along the path of life. Help me to be your light in the world.
God has made us God’s own. God has chosen us as sons and daughters and God continually surrounds us with gifts that bring us life and joy God’s sons and daughters, we who claim God’s love and recognize God’s blessings, are the people who can say without hesitation that “the best things in life are free.”