Gospel LK 3:15-16, 21-22
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”I Am Not Worthy The humility of John the Baptist shows us that he understood his purpose on this earth. He knew he was not Christ, but he was born to point the way toward Christ and toward the sacrament of baptism. We too, should keep in mind that we, as Christians, are called to point the way toward Christ. We need to continually go back to deep prayer in order to fulfill what God has destined for our lives. The Mystery of the Trinity In this recount of Christ’s baptism, we have the deep and mysterious transpiring events of the entire Trinity; God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We hear God’s voice, see Christ baptized, and watch as the Holy Spirit descends like a dove. To spend prayer time with the Trinity is a most valuable use of our spirituality. As humans, the mysterious God who became man and interacts with us through the Holy Spirit is a marvel. Endless hours of brainy research will not reveal the depths of the meaning of the trinity to us; only deep prayer and a real relationship in the midst of the THREE-IN-ONE will suffice. Even then we cannot anticipate the depths, breadth and space God is capable of consuming for us when we seek him through faith that surpasses intellect. The only way to have peace in a world where we have deceived ourselves to think we are self-sufficient is to practice letting go and trusting in the Lord. (Totus Tuus, Lord…totally Thine.) What Are You Going To Do Now? One of our favorite Catholic priests, Fr Mike Schmitz sent forth over 17,000 youth gathered for the SEEK 2019 retreat in Indianapolis this past week with a poignant question, “So what are you going to do now?” Rather than rhetorical question, he challenges us to be mindful of own sense of mission. DO SOMETHING! You love God? What are you going to do about it? When we are baptized in Christ, we are called; we must respond to the summons; a life of prayer and re-action to the love that has doused us deserves a response. Like St Augustine reminds us, it doesn’t always require words…it requires LOVE. To love is to go beyond ourselves in the service of another with serving the Lord at the core of our intentions. Our own mission can only be identified by prayer between God and ourselves. We each have a different mission, and like John the Baptist, pointing toward Christ can take a lot of strength and courage. Sometimes “mission” doesn’t mean going to the far corners of the earth to feed the hungry or clothe the naked. Sometimes it just means loving those placed right before us with kind of merciful, unconditional love that we ourselves have received from God. Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminded us that our “mission” begins in our own home, or with the people God has placed in our lives. Sometimes mission may be the less attractive things, but like the saints, we do whatever we do unto the Lord, not for the glory or praise of man. Whatever our mission is in Christ, it must begin and end with prayer. Filled With Expectations and All Were Asking In Their Hearts John knew what questions were tumbling around in the hearts of those present at the baptism of Christ. When we seek God first, God will do the ground work for us. Sometimes we are seeking from others what only God can give us. Our human relationships are limited to being “Christ”for others, because we are merely conduits for Christ. God knows our hearts as John poured out answers to their questions that were never voiced. The fact that they were seeking the Lord and full of expectation was being rewarded both spiritually and externally in the waters of baptism. Consistency Like the “Jesus Man” in our case, whatever we do in our journey toward God we should do with consistency. Like anything we want to do well, we must show up for “practice”, even on the days we are not feeling like it. There is grace in the prayer, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminds us, “If you pray you will believe.” Not the reverse. Even if it means a “fake it till ya make it” situation for you, may you be encouraged today that God hears the questions of your heart, just like at the Baptism of Jesus, giving John the words to respond. Given the time and space, God will also answer our questions and prayers in His way.