As we journey with Christ and celebrate his baptism, we remind ourselves of something very special. The opening up of the Holy Spirit and the guidance/mission that is being given to each of us. We hear once again how Jesus came to John, presumably, in the presence of many others … and allowed himself to be baptized by him, descending into the waters and rising from them with a new kind of focus, a deeper commitment, a singular kind of purpose through the power of the Spirit. This man from Nazareth would no longer be just that, but rather would more visibly embrace the mission with which he was entrusted. We know from Scripture that Jesus grew in wisdom and age. His baptism seems to be that moment when his identity was no longer “hidden” from those around him, and maybe even from himself. After all, we really don’t know how this all unfolded for Jesus . . . how exactly he came to know who he was and what he was destined for.
But from this moment everything would be different. He was stepping onto a sacred path, embarking on a journey that would end with nothing short of the salvation of the world. And it took a kind of commitment the world had rarely seen or likely never had seen or has seen since. And what was that commitment? In a word . . . love. Jesus was committed to love and only love, in a perfect way, the kind of commitment that would cost him everything. And he stayed the course. Through all the ridicule, the attempted stoning, the temptations of the devil, the false statements. And the world was never the same.
We are each called to do the same. We do this through the love of our Church; being involved. Through the love of our community; being involved. Through the love of neighbor; being involved.
None of these are easy, they require time and effort. But when done, we become the face of Christ to all those we encounter. The face of Christ that changes hearts, and ultimately changes the community we live in...one person at a time.
May we each think back to what our own baptism has brought us, are we using those gifts of the Holy Spirit or is there room for improvement?