Summary: FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD (Year A) (Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10; Acts 10:34:38; Matthew 3:13-17)
Today marks the beginning of the Ordinary Time section of our Church’s calendar and with that, the liturgical colours change again from the pure and joyous white to the green of hope. Coincidentally, with today’s feast marking the Baptism of our Lord and the beginning of His public ministry, we are called to reflect on our baptized selves as beacons of hope, or as Isaiah prophesied about Jesus (and as I would vision all people who fear Him and live uprightly), a “covenant of the people, a light of the nations to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness”, (Isaiah 42:6-7).
Lets look at most of ourselves. Most of us are cradle Catholics (myself included) and well, lets face it, we cradle Catholics aren’t usually serious about faith as the newly-baptised. However, it is not a competition as they came to know Jesus later in life while we were only allowed to choose a pathway at an age considered suitable for reasoning. But the fact remains clear – They, just like us, are beacons of hope and servants for the glory of God without question. (On another note, Peter did say that God shows no partiality and He accepts those who fear Him and live uprightly - Acts 10:35). No matter what, we are all called to be disciples and servants.
Nonetheless, we have all failed God, no matter who is more zealous. By looking at our baptism as mere ritual rather than accepting it by faith, we have failed to climax from being Sunday Christians to “Jesus Freaks”, thus mocking the words of Jesus, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”(Matthew 3:15). With that being said, we have failed to use our Christian conscience, what more use a Christian approach to fulfill all righteousness and ensure justice within ourselves, our families, and our communities. We have had an erroneous concept of baptism(it is a mere ritual) for too long and it has got to stop!!! Catholic – Christians must start being trailblazers and gateways of hope for righteousness!
We were all made in God’s image and likeness and we were all born with a calling/gift/purpose (see Romans 12)which would be vital for our personal ministries and by baptism, we were already able to discern our gifts and talents which we could use to serve God’s glory. God is great and His glory will always put us in a situation where we will be needed to correct, rectify, heal, motivate, educate, comfort and protest. It is as if God were saying to us “here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon him/her I have placed my Spirit(Isaiah 42:1).” The world has been praying for hope and we are that hope that God is sending out!!!
We cannot forget that with baptism and for us cradle Christians, at Confirmation, we pledged to believe and follow Jesus Christ and following Jesus is no small thing. It requires a conscience for truth, justice, peace, human/social development, progress and love. The cross that we carry is heavy but meaningful. Therefore, let us use this baptism of ours, renew our promises in our hearts, confess our shortcomings, reflect on ourselves and become witnesses in our families and communities. Free the Spirit in you and be a beacon of hope. Amen.