Vocation Meditation -
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 2010
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the 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 Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
For thirty years Jesus lived in Nazareth, things were ordinary. The ordinary was the comfort zone the village folk knew about Jesus: the son of Mary; the carpenter who learned from His father, Joseph; the cousin of John who lived in the desert.
When John emerged from his recluse in the wilderness, he proclaimed a new message of repentance. The people flocked out to hear him and that, with a certain expectancy. The movement to wait for the long-awaited Messiah surfaced and held high their hopes. The voice of John coming from the desert was loud and clear! In his message there was an unprecedented movement towards God. For Jesus, the emergence of John was God's call for Him to action.
It struck Jesus. His hour had come!
The first step he must take was to identify himself with the people in their wait for the Messiah. This is the baptism of Jesus! In the water of life, God spoke to Him and God spoke of Him to all. In this, His second epiphany, God's voice mapped out Jesus' identity in the plan of salvation. He is for all time-God's Son, the Beloved! 'In Him I am well pleased', in Isaiah 42:1, refers to the suffering servant, the Messiah who is to come.
In Jesusí baptism, then, He was the Anointed One by the Spirit. It was an anointing that does not involve any earthly power and glory but the glory obtained through His suffering and death in filial obedience to the Father's will.
God's approval of Jesus amidst His people meant-He is the One, the awaited Messiah, the Servant most pleasing to God in whom we must all learn from and follow.
"With you, I am well pleased."
In what moment of my discipleship journey can I honestly say, God is well pleased with me?
In baptism, my life emerged from sin and took on a movement towards You! You identified my life with Your Son. You anointed me in the Spirit to share the life of grace as well as the life of redemptive suffering in Jesus' name! I am grateful for the grace of my baptism. I want to live it to the full in consecrated life or in the priesthood as You deem me fit to serve You best. Amen!
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.