The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
January 12, 2020 – The Baptism of the Lord - Matthew 3:13-17
The main actor in God’s wonderful Plan for our salvation is Jesus. But others had parts as well. First, Mary, the Mother of God, had to agree to be the one where the Word would become flesh. St. Joseph played a major role in his willingness to care for and protect Mary especially during those early dangerous years. Finally, there is St. John the Baptist, whom we hear about in today’s gospel. The Plan of God is at its heart, a family story.
John the Baptist appears at the beginning of the public life of Jesus. He had already established himself as a religious prophet, calling people to repentance and baptizing them on the banks of the River Jordan. John, it appears, was quite aware that he was not the “hoped for Messiah” although he seemed to know that the coming of the Messiah (meaning “the one sent from God”) was about to happen.
Likely through divine inspiration, John recognized that Jesus was that Messiah. When Jesus happened by one day where John was doing his baptismal ministry, John became excited. He seemed quite willing to step aside and allow Jesus center stage. But that was not to be. At least, not yet.
John felt that Jesus should baptize him, not the other way around. But that was not God’s Plan. Thus, Jesus first submitted to John’s baptism and then everything changed. God’s Spirit descended on Jesus, communicated to Jesus in his human nature that he was God’s beloved and that his mission from God was now to begin. This all could have happened in a thousand different ways, but it didn’t. God’s Plan was to be respected and enacted.
And the same can be said about us. God has a plan for each of us. We all have a vocation or calling from God. While we may spend our whole lives only gradually becoming aware of our personal vocations, that’s okay. This is often the way that God works. There are gospel clues that Jesus himself in his human nature only gradually became aware of his vocation.
During his Agony in the Garden, he asked God if it’s possible to be relieved of his impending passion and death. Of course, we know that he eventually submitted to what God wanted. He said that not his but God’s will needs to be the final word.
As we begin this new year and decade, maybe it’s a good time to ask ourselves what God is asking of each of us. We all have a calling from God. Do we ever think about what God is inviting us to do? At home? At work? Everywhere we go.
©David M Thomas, PhD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method of Review of Life.