#49 THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Jesus-Baptism

Lk 3:21 “When all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape like a dove.”

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus and God’s revelation of him as the “beloved Son”.  We also remember our own baptism when we became God’s beloved children.

Expectations

The people in Jesus’ time expected a Messiah. They had their ideas of who this Messiah should be and what He should do. We also have expectations as Christians. Your expectation should be in line with who you are and who God is enabling you to become. Your expectations should be consistent with what God wants for you. As His children, we should strive to be what God wants us be; to give up what does not lead to God, and all inordinate worldly ambition. Live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age (cf. Titus 2:12; Micah 6:8). Our lives should bring others closer to God.

Adoption

Who is the long-expected Messiah? It is Jesus, the beloved Son of God. What does He do? Baptise us with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Who are we? The beloved of God, His adopted children and heirs of His kingdom. The Greek word translated “adoption” is huiothesia, and it occurs only five times in the New Testament, all in the letters of St Paul (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). It means “to formally and legally declare that someone who is not one’s own child is henceforth to be treated and cared for as one’s own child, including complete rights of inheritance.” In the Roman culture, the adopted son or daughter had four major changes: a change of family, a change of name, a change of home, and a change of responsibilities. “Adoption” clearly indicates that a Christian is a member of God’s family.

What are we to do? Embrace a journey of discovery about Jesus and ourselves that sets us on fire for God. All our expectations should be directed toward faithful baptismal living.

Baptismal Rite

The baptismal rite put into focus the primary gift of baptism – a share in divine life which is for us a new identity:

Water – plunged into the baptismal waters, we are plunged into Christ’s death; rising we share in divine life. Water brings both death (to our old selves) and a rebirth of life (new Life in God).

Chrism: anointed with chrism, we share in the threefold office of Christ- priest, prophet and ruler. Our anointing with chrism is a consecration of ourselves to conform our life to Christ’s.

White garment: clothed in a white garment, we are reminded of our new, holy, risen Life in Christ. We are to live unstained until we enjoy eternal Life with God.

Lighted candle: enlightened by Christ, we are also to be Light of Christ dispelling sin and darkness in the world. We ourselves are manifestations that in Christ the light of salvation has come into the world (cf. Jn 1:9; 8:12).

These Symbols also imply the demands of discipleship:

  • Water: dying to self;
  • Chrism: conforming ourselves to Christ;
  • White garment: living lives worthy of who we are;
  • Lighted candle: overcoming the darkness of sin.

Primarily these symbols help us understand who we become in baptism – members of the Body of Christ sharing in divine identity.

Greater awareness and appreciation of our identity enables us to be more faithful in our discipleship.

Baptismal Living

Faithful baptismal living both fulfils expectations and generates new ones. This is why baptismal living is a journey of discovery. Baptism opens us to a Presence that continually transforms who we are and what we can do for others. Baptism offers us new Life in the Holy Spirit, one that is steadfast yet unpredictable, familiar yet surprising, restful yet energizing. Baptismal living calls us not simply to run away from sin but to realise that everything we do can be done to the glory of God (cf. 1Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Our every action can become an act of worship. Baptism sets no on fire with love for God.

Baptism and Prayer

If baptism is the flame, prayer is the wax that keeps it burning. Jesus’ first action after His baptism was to pray to the Father. Luke mentions ten different occasions when Jesus sought the solitude of prayer (Lk 3:21-23; 4:1-2; 4:14; 5:15-17; 6:12-13; 9:18-20; 9:28-29; 11:1-4,9; 22:39-46). He did this to give us an example of how God’s children should long to communicate with their heavenly Father. He also did it because, God’s will is revealed when we spend time with Him. We grow to love, trust and live for Him.

Prayer: Thank You Lord for making me your child through the waters of Baptism. Give me strength to love you and seek a deeper and more loving relationship with You.

#5 Witness, Witness, Witness!!!

Witness1

Dear Doctimus Prime,

Blogatron reporting for duty sir! (chuckles). I am sorry Prime. I know you don’t like me sounding all formal and stuff. It is another weekend and the week has been veeeeerrrry interesting. I have done a few more writings, I have made a few more friends and discussed with a few more people. In all I am a lot wiser and a lot more informed about some things. I am sure I will come around to write about some of them. First of all, I had to reply a comment on one a social media platform where someone was belly-aching about Catholic Priests who are guilty of favouritism of the rich over the poor. He is very correct in that regard, but I had to tell him a little more truth than he is willing to admit. I said:
“I would have to presume that you have chosen to take a stand of righteousness by seeing others (in this case PRIESTS) as the guilty ones. One question that bothers me more than yours is ‘why do we sin, all of us, in the first place?’ The answer is in Rom 3:23. We are all sinners, priests or lay persons alike, we all are sinners. I don’t know the motivation for anybody’s sins. What I know is that sin is evil and it is the devil’s plan to keep us bound and enslaved even in the things we claim to do for God. And there is nobody better to denounce sin that each and everyone in his/her own life. Often we forget too easily that we sin and are in need of God’s mercy, that we point accusing fingers to others. If you have experienced the mercy of God, you will definitely be more sympathetic to the plight of others. You will be forced like St Augustine to cry upon seeing a sinner: ‘There goes Augustine if not for the grace of God.’ If you feel badly about anybody’s moral state, do what 1Jn 5:15-17 prescribes. The fact is that the higher role in the Church is all the more perilous. Priests don’t have it easy, that is the more reason you should pray for them. They have more to contend with. If you feel strongly about the behaviour of any of them, meet the person personally and speak to him with courtesy and respect. I am sure they will appreciate it.”

prayer2

But that is not the reason I wanted to speak to you Prime. Yesterday’s Gospel reading from Lk 12:8-12 and today’s second reading from 2Tim 3:14-4:2 had a deep impact on me. They both point to the fact that as a Christian is called to be a Witness.
At baptism, my Catholic faith teaches me, that I am made a child of God and an heir to God’s kingdom. I am anointed KING, PRIEST AND PROPHET. As a prophet, I am called upon to witness before all people, everywhere and at all time to the goodness of God in Jesus Christ. Witnessing here means that I show forth the virtues which Jesus practiced and taught in his lifetime by the way I live my life. My life MUST reflect that of Christ as I allow Him to transform me more and more into His image (cf. 2Cor 3:18). Romans 8:29 says that God has destined me before I was born to by co-heir with Christ to His kingdom.

As a co-heir my duty is to make Christ known and loved. TO BE A CHRISTIAN IS TO BE A WITNESS TO CHRIST. It means that although I am challenged by peer pressure to conform to the standard of this world in the way I dress, speak, act, tweet and ping, I should not give in. Roman 12:2 enjoins me to be a WORLD CHANGER, A TRANSFORMER (BLOGATRON FOR REAL!) AND NOT BE A WORLD-DUMMY. If I succumb to the world, I deny Christ. To witness to Christ is to die to the world and its cunning. That is why the Greek translation for WITNESS is MARTYRDOM.

Witness2

My mantra shall be: “I am in the world but I am not of the world. He who is in me is greater than He who is in the world” (cf Jn 15:18,19; 1Jn 4:4). It does not matter if I have been a sinner all my life. It won’t weigh me down. It doesn’t matter if I have been silent and have failed to speak up about what I believe as a Christian. It is never too late to start. I won’t let my past hold me down. Rather, I would ask for God’s pardon and forgiveness in confession and be free of the devil’s slavery tactics.

1Cross3Nails

I only want to radiate the Word of God, the Word of truth. I want to share what I believe with everyone I meet. I want to be on Duty for Christ. This means I might have to change my lifestyle. It will no longer be business as usual. But I am not afraid of change. I only want Christ to be known and loved.
Yours,
BLOGATRON
@jaaymary