After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him],
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
My Dear Friends in Christ,
In our series on the Family, we have examined our blessings and graces of our individual families and the gift of our membership in our Church family. Through both, we come to share in the very life of God, especially through our baptism. Today we celebrate the baptism of Jesus, one of the events in the life of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. That Jesus was baptized by John is among the most certain historical facts in the Gospel tradition. It is not the kind of story that early Christians would have invented. In fact, early Christians felt some embarrassment about the episode since it assumes a dependence upon and inferiority to John on Jesus’ part. But for Matthew and the other evangelists the focus was the person of Jesus as he begins his public ministry, the heavenly voice makes clear who Jesus is and why He is significant.
In His humility in submitting to John and in the revelation of who Jesus is and how God works, we have an understanding of who we are and of our vocation.
In our baptism we are formally drawn to God, made a child of God and, in that identity, given a vocation.
The word “vocation” come from the Latin word “vocare” which means “to call.” So, a vocation is a call from God that will help the receiver know God’s love and live out most fully and fruitfully that love in service to others. Too often, it is thought that only priests and consecrated religious have “vocations.” Each and every one of us has a vocation, a personal way God is calling us to know His love and to share the gifts He has given us. God invites but never forces each of us to a particular path in life. This week when we say “yes” to God’s plan, we are most fully alive, most fully human, and closest to the God who created us. Our most basic call comes in following Jesus Christ. In humility, as children of God, as sisters and brothers of Jesus, as disciples we submit to God’s plan for us and God uses that to reveal Jesus Christ to others. And God uses our efforts not only to reveal Who He is and how He works but also to allow us a share in building up the Kingdom.
Take some time this week to reflect on how God is calling you closer and how God is calling you to make Jesus known in this world.
How are you called?
How do you in humility submit to God and God’s plan for your life? How do you share in the building up of God’s Kingdom. These questions are particularly important for the young whose lives have yet to be lived but these questions are also essential for each and every one of us as we seek to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ.