Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Jan. 12, 2020

Reflection for Jan. 12, 2020

Through baptism, we join Jesus in mission

Our lives are to grow in what we receive at the altar -- the body of Christ

by Sister Laura Zelten

Sunday’s Gospel will recount Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. His baptism is different from ours. It does not free him from sin since he is without sin. Rather, Jesus is baptized by John in order to establish baptism as the way in which we come to share in Jesus’ holiness.

Jesus’ baptism also marks the beginning of his public ministry. We share in this ministry by virtue of our own baptism. To help us understand what a servant of God looks like, we hear in the First Reading from the prophet Isaiah: “My servant … will bring forth justice to the nations”.

In the second reading, St. Paul describes Jesus as the one through whom God proclaims peace. Working for a more just and peaceful world is part of what it means to share in the ministry of Jesus, who promises to send us his Spirit so that we may be strengthened for His mission on earth.

Finally, in the Gospel, when Jesus comes out of the water, Matthew describes the familiar scene: the sky opens up, Jesus sees the Holy Spirit descend upon him like a dove, and a voice from heaven claims Jesus as “my own dear Son with whom I am well pleased.” That’s the story.

Could it be that THAT is what God is thinking of us when we are baptized?


Kathy Bergstrom
01/10/2020 9:31 am

Thank you, Sr. Laura. This is truly comforting!

Linda P.
01/10/2020 11:00 am

A most potent thought is that when we are NAMED in the baptismal rite, we are also CLAIMED. Our parents have 'named' us, but it is G O D who 'claims' us.

Our NAME -- that is, the WHO and the ALL of who-we-are -- is "baptized," CLAIMED by God, Our Creator; JESUS, Our Lord, Savior, and Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit, Our Comforter, Truth-teller, Teacher, Reminder, Advocate, Inspiration, Guide, Healer, Spouse. When we take time to 'sit-and-ponder' what this is saying to us, it is truly A M A Z I N G. Even as in, "Amazing Grace ....." Gifts of Welcome, Embrace, Healing, Empowerment. Yes, all for the sake of welcoming, embracing, healing, and empowering others -- being especially attentive to and taking action on behalf of those who are being NOT welcomed, excluded, hurt, oppressed, unjustly treated, demeaned, disregarded, shut down. These are not the works-of-G O D.

Howard Thurman, for me, proclaims BAPTISM, in his poem, "The Work of Christmas:"

When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and the princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flocks,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among people,

To make music in the heart.

Paul Fischer
01/10/2020 11:10 am

Laura, Thanks for the insight. The exercise you mentioned of including your own name on the list of people you love is a great one.....but lets be sure our ego does not get in the way. Peace

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