Jesus' Baptism and Yours
Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the last day of the Christmas Season.
Today becomes nothing more than a memory of an historic event if we do not understand it.
We know when Jesus is Baptized by John in the Jordan, it is one time in the Bible that all three persons of the Trinity are present. The other time is the transfiguration. So we can say this moment is as important in the life of Jesus as the Transfiguration. Since this blesses baptism it also makes your baptism as important as His. Just as the Holy Spirit comes down upon Jesus at this moment so does He come down upon you.
It is the beginning of your relationship with Christ. You received the Holy Spirit at Baptism and then at Confirmation. You were invited to be led by the Holy Spirit. In fact, that is the point of our understanding of the Baptism of the Lord, Jesus blesses the waters of Baptism and invites you into the relationship with the Trinity. From that point on Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit and calls you to be led by the Spirit as well. This is not an automatic thing as much as it is a call to be attuned to the spirit in your life.
Did you ever meet someone who was so distracted by his or her problems that he or she is unable to see the beauty of a wonderful sunrise that surrounds him or her? You try to get the person to snap out of it but they are so distracted they cannot see anything and barely acknowledged that the sun is even going down.
“Oh yea, the sun is going down! But what am I going to do about tomorrow.”
This is kind of what our relationship with the Holy Spirit can be like unless we can be attuned to Him. Baptism opens the door to the Holy Spirit in our life. Then we need to be attuned to Him working in our lives and leading us. This is where prayer comes in.
Pope St. John Paul II explained that St. John the Baptist through the Holy Spirit learns of the mission of Christ. He is then able to point everyone to Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, you too have an invitation to know Christ in a way to better understand His mission and yours as well. Through our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we can have a deeper understanding of the world around us so that we maneuver through this world with a different focus and seek to do more the will of God.
This past week we had a disastrous event we all know in Congress. I knew that the certification process was going to be contentious and jokingly I mentioned to Jim after I took a bike ride that I assumed the country was still intact. I then went up to my room turned to begin working on my homily. I turned on the news and discovered that the Capitol was breached. I told Jim, it looks like I spoke too soon.
What is at the bottom of all this? It is a fear of what policies are going to be enacted in the future. Fear is a powerful motivator Saul Alinsky taught community organizers how to manipulate people with fear.
What does the Holy Spirit teach? Fear is useless what is needed is trust.
So while people will be focused on an uncertain future, the Lord is speaking through the Holy Spirit to His people that we must trust and turn from fear. This means if we turn from fear we have the clearer vision on how to deal with what is coming up this year. Those who are lost in fear are blinded by it. However, Christ calls us to trust in his presence and hold tight to Him. We must stay focused on where he is leading us.
We learn to turn from fear by being attuned to the Holy Spirit given to us at Baptism and Confirmation.
Keep that in mind. This is just one of the examples of how the Holy Spirit works in your life through that relationship that begins in Baptism.
Once Jesus is baptized he is led into the desert where he encounters the temptation of the Devil. The Holy Spirit brought Jesus right to the presence of the one who seeks to completely overcome him. When you go through your most difficult times, do not assume that the Holy Spirit was not involved.
I have had to learn as well sometimes the most difficult experience we have in our lives is what prepares us for a way of serving God in the future. But we have to see it through the guidance of the Holy Spirit who leads us. When we instead focus on the difficult situation then we can be distracted and blinded by the incident and never see the Holy Spirit. We become unable to serve Christ to the level he calls us.
What caused the events on Wednesday? People blinded by fear. How can we never be so manipulated? Focus on Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit given to us at Baptism. He leads us to a trust and a faith and the more we trust we more we grow in faith. This Holy Spirit came to you at Baptism and in its fullness at Confirmation. He is with you and as Jesus demonstrates trust in his presence in your life and seek to follow His inspiration in all things.
That grace to do this comes to you right now.
You saw this week what fear does. You see now in response to what happened on Wednesday what fear does. People need to see what Trust in God does. They can see it when you practice it by being attuned to the Holy Spirit given to you at Baptism and Confirmation.