January 12, 2020 — The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
IS 42:1-4, 6-7; PS 29: 1-4, 9-10;ACTS 10:34-38; MT 3:13-17
Today marks the close of the Christmas season, but before we return to Ordinary Time, we have one more great feast to celebrate — The Baptism of the Lord. And, as we are still in New Year’s resolution season, today’s feast is a perfect opportunity to consider the privileges and responsibilities we all share as Christian stewards by virtue of our own Baptism, and how we might live them out more fully in the year ahead.
At the moment of our Baptism, whether in infancy or later in life, we became adopted sons and daughters of God, members of his holy, Catholic Church. Though we may not have realized it, the moment of our Baptism is also the moment we become Christian stewards, disciples of Jesus Christ, tasked with the work of following in His footsteps day by day and sharing the Gospel message with all those around us.
Our first reading from the Book of Isaiah describes some of the infinitely wonderful characteristics of Christ that we, as his disciples, are called to imitate. Through the prophet, the Father calls His Son “my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.” Christ’s actions are powerful in effect — “He shall bring for justice to the nations” — yet humbly and gently carried out — “not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street, a bruised reed he shall not break…” This is a description of the way of life we must go about in our work as disciples of Christ: humbly and lovingly, without calling attention to ourselves and yet without backing down when the going gets tough.
In our second reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter reminds us that God has no favorites; Jesus is “Lord of all” and all are equally wanted and cherished by the Father. Peter gives us yet another glimpse of the person of Jesus we should imitate. “He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Again, by virtue of our Baptism, God is with us, too. We, therefore, must live our lives like Jesus, seeking to do good to everyone we encounter; not just those in our inner circle of family and friends, but everyone in our community since the Father loves us all and Jesus sought out everyone with His saving message.
Finally, in the Gospel passage from Matthew, we see yet another aspect of Jesus in action, this time as he humbly stands before John to be baptized by him. Imagine, the Son of God waiting his turn in line with sinners seeking baptism. What humility and what willingness to unite Himself to us our Lord demonstrates by this act. We can do no less as we live out our daily lives as his disciples. And when we do strive with all our might to live out our Baptismal call to Christian stewardship, we will experience the deep honor of knowing that our we, too, are God’s “beloved” sons and daughters “with whom He is well-pleased.”
There is no greater honor, no greater satisfaction than living well this stewardship way of life. Let’s resolve in the year ahead to use our Time, Talents, and Treasure in ways that allow us to walk more closely in the footsteps of our incredible Lord and Savior.