From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
January 9 – Baptism of the Lord
Why was Jesus baptized? He had no sin, no need for repentance which John the Baptist was offering. Even John questioned Jesus being baptized by him. It seemed backwards to him. But it was necessary to reverse the sin of Adam and the course of history. The Baptism of Jesus serves as the bridge between his entrance to the world (Epiphany) and his public ministry. Jesus entered the waters of the Jordan and went into the depths of sin taking all the burdens and sins of mankind upon His back, and stepping into the place of all sinners. “He emptied himself, took the form of a slave, and was born in the likeness of man. He humbled himself, obedient even to the point of death…and God highly exalted Him.” While he was without sin, he joined in humanity and attached the sins of all man to himself that he might then rise up from the water, sanctifying them into waters of life, offering to each of us the salvation which had been lost. Through his baptism, he ushered in the hope of the future! And God said, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased!”
It did not need to happen this way. God could have chosen any number of ways to ‘save’ us. But he didn’t. He chose to come to us, to where we are. He chose to ‘visit’ us in our home, messes and all. He gave of himself that we might have the most comfortable path to salvation. We see the Triune God in full glory. From now on, all Jesus does and says is as God the Father’s beloved Son and under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended upon him as He does on us. In Baptism we are graced with the desire of our faith and the protection and guidance of our Lord and the Spirit. We are to be baptized and drink from the waters, and then go out and give life to others, thereby becoming holy and saintly. We are called to do so with humility, mercy and compassion. Jesus gives us the example that we best do this by meeting others where they are at in life. He gives us the Spirit to embrace always as our guide, companion and protector.
As Vincentians, we are called to connect ourselves to the needs, the sufferings and the pains of those whom God places before us. We typically do so through the home visit to meet them where they are at. During this time of the pandemic, it is essential that we find new and creative ways to meet people where they are at and bring them comfort and hope. We are called to join in total humility and obedience to God’s will and Divine Providence. We are called to be life giving to others that they too may become sharers in the heavenly feast. How do I come before the Lord in total humility and obedience? How do I take on the pain and suffering of those whom I serve, joining myself to them and walking with them? How do I work to meet them where they are at?
Father, give me the grace to drink from the waters of baptism, that I may have the humility and courage to go out, serving those you call me to. Allow you Spirit to descend upon me, always guiding me in the way of the Lord, your Son. Help me to live in obedience, always seeking your will. Give me the courage, the wisdom, and confidence to find ways to overcome the obstacles of isolation, fear, and stress that I may bring peace to those I minister to. Help me to find ways to travel to them, bring hope and friendship. With your help, allow me to be the person you created me to be as you marked me and claimed me at my baptism. I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen