Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7, Acts 10:34-38, Matthew 3:13-17
This is my Son, the Beloved
The feast of the Baptism of the Lord invites us to look at our own baptism in the Lord. Jesus, through his baptism in the river Jordan, begins his mission. His mission is approved by God the Father through the words “This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.” We too, through our baptism are being called and sent forth for the mission of the Lord. We are confirmed by the Father as God’s beloved children and God’s favour rests on us. As God’s beloved children, we are called to do God’s mission on earth.
The mural of the Baptism of the Lord, that is painted in Santa Teresa Parish Church has, John the Baptist, pointing his index finger towards heaven, figuratively telling Jesus, “Listen.” It is very intriguing to see this image of John ‘commanding’ Jesus! But if we look deeper we see this command of John to listen is one of love and care, that is to say, John, as an elder cousin of Jesus, has better experience of the world, and he points Jesus in the right direction.
The baptism is a ritual, which points us too in a right direction. A direction towards right living, right relationship and love: loving God and loving our neighbour. That is what Jesus’s mission was. He loved everyone, no matter what kind of person he or she was. He worked towards right relationship: by forgiving all, no matter what the person did. He reached out to all, no matter what class or creed the person belonged to. His life is a model to all of us.
So how can we live our baptism in our day to day life? Well, it’s quite simple, live it as Jesus lived. Easy to say right? That’s true, it is easy to say and hard to practice. But it is not impossible though. It is possible, and we need to work towards it, as I usually say, one day at a time. I may not be able to forgive as Jesus did. I may not be able to love everyone as Jesus did. I may not be able to reach out to all as Jesus does. But I can always begin with one person and work my way up. I can always start by one act of kindness and move forward. I can always begin and don’t stop. It is a challenge. Let us begin to live our baptismal call. Let us move ahead with our mission. And let us continue to be inspired by the life and works of Jesus.