Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection Jan. 10, 2021

Reflection Jan. 10, 2021

Feast of the Baptism of Jesus

We are all 'beloved' children of God; how does that impact our words and actions? 

by Sister Francis Bangert

January 10, 2021, in the Christian world marks both endings and beginnings. Today’s feast of the Baptism of Jesus brings to a close the rich, liturgical celebration of the Advent season of waiting and the Christmas season of fulfillment — God breaking into human history — God with us — Emmanuel.

Also today, this feast celebrates the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Mark, in his Gospel, shows “Jesus coming up out of the water and seeing the heavens being torn open ”… a sign that God’s vision is about to be revealed. Then the Spirit like a dove descends upon him and a voice comes from the heavens: “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” The voice of the Father, the human Jesus, and the Spirit Love between them, the Trinity, is the gifted relationship that is ours celebrated in our baptism. Like Jesus, we are beloved sons and daughters of this Most High One, blessed with dignity and pleasing in the eyes of our Creator.

Can we grasp the depth of this mystery? Inherent in this gift is a mission to bring forth justice for the oppressed. What are the implications?

Every man, woman, and child is a beloved person. There are no barriers in God’s vision for humans: not language, color, race, sexual preference, political status, age, wars. Imagine what our world would look like if we REALLY lived out of God’s vision for us. Perhaps, our many losses and traumas with COVID which has brought death to over 360,000 U.S. people will awaken us to a new reality ... a new beginning in how we treat one another with dignity, with respect, with compassion, especially being a voice for the voiceless.

We now have 34 weeks of Ordinary Time to put into practice what we’ve just celebrated in Advent and Christmas.  What will be different in the way we relate to others with God’s vision?


Cindi Brawner
01/08/2021 6:57 am

Excellent reflection, Sr. Fran. What a thought provoking question with wonderful possibilities!

01/08/2021 8:37 am

" ... G O D 's vision ..."

My heart becomes centered in these words, so much needed in our world today. "G O D 's vision." If we could have but a glimpse of this, in our times, would we not be so moved to give our lives, give all of our selves, for that ever-ancient, yet ever-new reality?

And taking into account, too, that the word has triple meanings. Perhaps the triplicate interpretations being symbolic of the Trinity, Sr. Fran so beautifully weaves into her reflection. 1) "Vision" as in our sight; how well -- or how poorly we see. 2) "Vision" as in the wisdom of Solomon: “Without vision, the people perish” ( Proverbs 29:18 ). This kind of vision, with life-healing, life-giving creative works at the forefront -- is what the prophets have shared - and continue to share with us. 3) A mystical or religious experience.

When I consider that we have just lived through the year 2020, the year of 'perfect vision,' as in having 20/20 sight, and knowing how much darkness and needless suffering the year brought upon humanity, I am led to consider how 'enlightening' is the original [Anglo-French] definition, "something seen in the imagination or supernatural;" and the Old French, "presence, sight; view, look, appearance; dream, supernatural sight." And a third meaning, which perhaps speaks the most to me right now: "perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed into signals that pass to the brain."

In other words, Light, itself is needed for sight. Without Light, we are left in darkness, and nothing is visible to us. With Light, we begin to see. As Sr. Fran points out, Light breaks through from the heavens as JESUS accepts his own belovedness. Not for his own glory, as his struggles in the desert will show us, but for the good, well-being, healing and wholeness of others, and of Earth, herself. Imagination and Creativity break through with the Light, making a truly beautiful and blessed sight! And as Light creates vibrations, sound waves form words: "My beloved."

Can there be a more blessed and beautiful beginning [vision] for ourselves this year, leaving behind the darkness of 2020?

JESUS gave us an example of how to accept, realize, and fulfill our personal belovedness. As we learn from him, and from Sr. Fran, the commitment is toward helping all others know and fulfill their own belovedness, and to help create systems that nurture and sustain the belovedness of all, the belovedness of all Creation.

01/08/2021 9:42 am

Thanks, Fran, for a beautiful and insightful reflection on the Baptism of Jesus and its impact on us. Much to ponder in the days to come.

Sr. Mary Kabat
01/08/2021 10:00 am

Thank you, Sr. Fran, for highlighting the presence of the Trinity at Jesus' baptism and the hope and challenge for a more just, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Mary Pierre
01/08/2021 11:33 am

Thanks, Sister Fran, this is so relevant to today. Will reread and reflect. I appreciate your message.

Ann Hoban
01/08/2021 5:55 pm

I loved the description of the Trinity. Thank you Sister.

01/09/2021 3:55 pm

Thank you Sister Fran for Bringing this reflection to print.

Sister Rose Jochmann
01/09/2021 4:39 pm

Hi, Fran,

Thanks for your reflection. You connect the Baptism of Jesus with all the issues facing us today. We have much to ponder.

01/09/2021 10:08 pm

You remain the consummate teacher, Sr. Francis, thank you for the gift of YOU.

Sr. Renee Delvaux
01/10/2021 1:29 pm

Thank you, Fran, for your inspirational reflection. I was moved by your comment that we need to strive to bring forth justice for the hurting and oppressed. At this time in history of the pandemic and the call to strengthen our democracy - yes, let us pray for God's help to bring forth justice for our world.

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