Gospel Reflection: The Baptism of the Lord
Baptism: Beginning of Ministry
The baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan marks the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. He came out of the years of hidden life. There was no need for Jesus, being without sin, to participate in the ceremonial washing that John the Baptist offered people. But by submitting to John’s baptism, he showed his desire to be with all sinners. The mission he was about to begin would call sinners to repentance by offering them mercy, forgiveness and hope.
John the Baptist said that he baptised with water, but the one coming after him would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.
On Pentecost Day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the form of tongues of fire. They were transformed by the fire of extraordinary wisdom, courage and enthusiasm. The mission of Jesus had now become the mission of the newly-born Church. The Apostles were sent to the ends of Earth to preach to all people and baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
That mission of the Church embraced each one of us on the day of our baptism. Christening is actually a more powerful word than baptism. In the sacrament (a sacred moment) a person is CHRIST-ENED. The day of Christening is not the end of a journey but the beginning of a new life. “But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (John 1: 12). To become means to grow continually. It is not enough to be a Christian in name without being a Christian in fact. “You are the light of the world”, said Jesus, “let your light shine before people so that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt 5: 16).
A New Evangelization
Pope Francis wrote in The Joy of the Gospel , “Jesus wants evangelizers who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence … How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervour, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction!”
You are baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire!
A question to ponder. If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you? We have been Christ-ened. We are members of his Body on earth, called to continue his mission.
In the Cursillo programme we encourage people to be active evangelizers in their own environment. If you have been Christened, then Christ is counting on you.
Counting on you
God alone can give faith, but you can offer witness.
God alone can give hope, but you can give confidence to others.
God alone can give love, but you can pass it on to others.
God alone can give peace, but you can work for unity.
God alone can give power, but you can sustain somebody who is feeling low.
God alone is the way, but you can show it to others.
God alone is the light, but you can make it shine for others.
God alone is life, but you can give others a taste for living.
God alone can do the impossible, but through you it becomes possible.
God alone is self-sufficient … but amazingly, God prefers to count on you.
Br Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.