Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

January 13, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
Acts 10:34-38
Matthew 3:13-17

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Today's feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas season.

For many of you, there's a great sense of relief. For others (myself included), we protest, "Wait a minute! We worked hard during Advent for a time of touching, a time of tender intimacy." After all, we can relate to such an adorable, sweet baby-God. There's even a temptation to keep Him all to ourselves, to be possessive.

Isn't that the sadness of all parents? Babies grow too fast, and become teenagers! And there's nothing we can do about it! Last week's feast of the Epiphany must have caused some pain to Mary and Joseph, for just when they're getting used to their own child, He's claimed by foreigners as a God whom they want to adore. So Mary and Joseph have had to know the process we call "letting go." And later, that temple scene had to be a nightmare every parent dreads. Where is He? I thought He was with you! Stop the caravan. We have to go back. Jesus is lost!

And now, Christmas is over. He's said good-bye to Mary. Probably He's already closed the eyes in death of His beloved teacher, friend, and foster-father, Joseph.

And He's on His own, humanly excited and a little fearful at beginning His great mission. His steps have taken Him to the banks of the Jordan River where a crowd surrounds a man in strange attire. He beholds His own cousin with whom He had played as a child. They meet in a solemn moment as all see John stare, then greet Jesus warmly. And Jesus asks John for baptism! What? That's for sinners! John protests, and Jesus, seeking full solidarity with sinful humanity, urges John, "Give in for now." And John does! From the sky come the same words as Isaiah had proclaimed hundreds of years before: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him!" With these words, God the Father publically announces His Son and His Mission to Israel.

And Jesus, rising up from the waters, begins to gather other men and women who can share His work. And, in turn, He urges on them His own baptism, in water and the Holy Spirit.

So, reluctantly this Sunday, we let go the gentle child Jesus, and take up the burdens of the Man with a Mission—to free all captives to sin, to bring joy and hope to the downhearted, to bring salvation to ourselves by helping others toward theirs.

It's not a call to the soapbox! Who needs to be preached at? Like Jesus, we are not called to break the bruised reed, nor to discourage our neighbor, already discouraged enough. What are needed are the energy of loving and the courage of doing. It's a call to the basic works of January—vocation awareness, the rights of the unborn, and Church unity. It seems like Jesus is rushing things, but He says to us loud and clear, "Follow me!"

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29(at)yahoo(dot)com

The Baptism of the Lord

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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