The Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist is an opportunity to reflect more deeply on each of our own Baptism. We see in this week’s a reminder that we have a call a vocation to live the baptized life. Women and men of faith given power to live a life of witness to the power of God active in our lives.
Baptisms are often seen a moment in our lives or that of our children that are cause for joy and celebration. For most of us we don’t recall our baptism, but each time we bless ourselves with holy water or make the sign of the cross is a constant reminder that we are baptized into Christ Jesus our Lord. This truth of our baptism must be the driving force for our lives.
When we are baptized we receive an unction, and anointing as the kings, priests and prophets did in ancient Israel. Like to anointing of old, the receipting of this unction imparts upon us the gift of the Holy Spirit to be priests, prophets and rulers. In receiving this special gift of the Spirit we are strengthened to live the life of the Baptized.
When we think of priests we then of men who are ordained for ministry within the church. Each of us is called to be priestly, not through the sacrament of Holy Orders but to reflect that priest like aspect of our calling. The principle role of a priest is to pray. So as baptized persons into Christ Jesus, like Him we must be persons whose lives seek to pray and be in union with God. Priests also offer sacrifice, the life of baptized too is to be a life of offering the sacrifice of one’s own life in the love and care of others. This is first seen in the family, just take a moment and think of the many sacrifices that parents make for their children, in providing for them, educating them and helping them reach their full potential, but even beyond the family. The Baptized Christian in making sacrifices for those on the peripheries, the marginalized truly lives the empowerment of God given through baptism.
The anointing is that of a prophet. When we think of prophets we think of great men like Jeremiah and Isaiah, or Moses. Jeremiah says he is too young, and God tells him, “Say not I am too Young.” To be prophetic can be challenging and even dangerous. Well prophets are called by God to speak God’s Word. Well, you may think this is fine and well for priests and bishops, but how are we to speak for God. Through our public witness the first Gospel that people hear is the one lived with our lives. But there are also opportunities to share the love of God through speaking God’s word in our interactions with others. Let people know that you are a Christian. In our encouragement of colleagues and co-workers, in opportunities to offer some support. Be ready to give witness the reason for your hope. In our praying publicly at a restaurant or public event. This truly witnesses to our faith and gives a prophetic witness to our trust in God for all things even the Wendy’s burger I may be enjoying with friends.
You and I are called to be rulers, to give order to life of the community. So, we are to guide to lead from our baptism. In the domestic Church parents are the first to guide their children and families. Through participation in Catechetical formation, as we help our families discovering their calling or their vocation in life. It is here that we are taking on the role of ruler in giving order to our children’s lives. This impacts us too, to be rulers or person who bring Christian order to our very lives. The Baptism of the Lord reminds us that we too are to be come rulers, prophetic and priestly persons of prayer and sacrifice for the sake of God and witness to His realm on earth.