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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Reflection 2021-01-10 Baptism of Jesus

Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12; 1 John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11
Today is the Baptism of Jesus and it marks the end of the Christmas season. The Readings show the importance of accepting God as he is. He comes but not in the way we expect. In the First Reading, God calls those who thirst to come to him so they can drink without money. He asks why do you spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy. Many chase after money and security in material goods, but these will not satisfy us, because true security is in the Lord. Which is why the First Reading also says: Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked person forsake their way, and the unrighteous person their thoughts; let that person return to the Lord that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. God calls us to repentance. The baptism of Jesus is a call to repentance.
The word repentance means to change the way we think AND trust in Jesus. When Jesus appears in his baptism, he inaugurates his kingdom and he directs his listeners, not to the Law, nor the Temple, but to himself. This is what we need to change in our thinking. We need to change our perspective of how God works, of what God wants. The Second Reading tells us, everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves the son. All our actions, our aspirations, our hopes and dreams must center on Jesus. We take the dreams of Jesus for us, because our dreams fall short of what he has planned for us. And when we do, then what the First Reading promised will be fulfilled: we will find him, we will return to the Lord and he will ABUNDANTLY PARDON us of our sins. This assumes we turn back to the Lord.
I cannot say I repent and continue to do whatever I want. Repentance is not just a change in our way of thinking, but a return to God. This goes beyond believing God exists. It requires trusting Jesus alone!
In the Gospel, John the Baptist shows us what trusting Jesus looks like. It is to recognize who we are compared to him. John proclaimed: The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Turning to Jesus means to recognize, our actions, our thoughts are natural and will remain in the sphere of the natural. Turning to Jesus is to realize, his thoughts and actions are beyond what is natural. They are supernatural, because Jesus is God even as he is human. We know, when we trust him, he will speak the word, and as Isaiah said his word goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty; but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
God’s word is always done. We can trust his Word, because his Word is Jesus. Reality is not based on our ideas, or even on what we see. Reality is based on what God says. What he says is always done.
If today, we are in situations that trouble us, if we think God has abandoned us because we have done what is humanly possible and nothing still happens, we repent, change the way we think, turn to Jesus and let him enter our condition. Just as Jesus entered the water of the Jordan to be baptized, to immerse himself into it, Jesus can enter our situation and immerse himself into it. And as the heavens tear apart and the Spirit descends on him as he entered the waters, the heavens will also tear apart and the Spirit will descend into our condition and reveal who Jesus is: the Son of God, the Beloved, whom the Father is pleased.
Lord, just as you entered creation, enter my life and change it. Help me change my way of thinking, always realizing who I am before you, and that I need to surrender my life to you. Lord, I have tried everything I can, and yet, nothing has happened to me and my situation. I welcome you into my life, and let you take charge of it. Do with it and do with me as you will.

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