Saturday, January 08, 2011

Allow It Now

January 9, 2011
First Sunday of Ordinary Time A
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7

You know the word (that) he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:36-38

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?" Jesus said to him in reply, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him. Matthew 3:13-15

There is a moment in human affairs when time stands still. Christ walks into the water to be baptized by John. The mission begins. The Spirit of the Lord is in him. The world has been waiting for his teaching. The thirty years of the hidden life is over. God is revealed to the world. Christ hears the voice. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” God is putting his seal of approval on the thirty years when Christ was doing the ordinary in a way that made the ordinary extraordinary. Piety makes a prayer out of all the simple things that one does. Christ, the Father and the Spirit are together in the moment of time when God is revealed as Trinity. Our baptisms change the quality of human life into divine life. We are created in the image and the likeness of Christ. God’s life is truly our life. Indwelling converts our humanness into the expression of the life of Jesus in our world today. Baptism creates out of the many the Mystical Body of Christ as the people of God become the Church of Christ.

Peter says in the house of Cornelius that God shows no partiality. It is written on our hearts to fear God and to act rightly. Jesus goes forth from his baptism anointed with the Holy Spirit and power. God is with Christ. We let our hearts teach us how to proclaim the good news of salvation. Jesus is the Lord of all. He goes forth from his baptism with the Holy Spirit and power healing all those oppressed by the Devil. It is true to say that God is with him. God has called Christ for the victory of justice. Christ becomes the clarion call of our hearts to do good. It is written on our hearts to love one another even as Christ has loved us. Christ grasps our hands and leads us to be a light to all that know us. We give our weakness to Christ that his strength might be seen in all the good we do. He allows us to be his presence to the world we serve.

Christ is the human expression of the love of God. We become the love of God to our world when we live our lives under the inspirations of his spirit. Christ passes on to us his Spirit. We live his life in our day and age by our love for one another. How we can be faithful to our calling is taught to us by our prayer. We grow up into being the presence of Christ in our world. We can claim that we no longer live because it is Christ who lives in us. Our goodness opens the eyes of those who are blind to Christ. We are to be the light of the world. Our faithfulness to our calling gives light to the blind. Because Christ shared our humanity, the good we do allows us to share his divinity. Baptism converts us into the ongoing presence of Christ in our world. We can overcome the darkness of our world by being through our baptisms the life of Christ in our world.