Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10
You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. (Mark 1:11)
“He wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening.” Ironically, the subject of this cynical remark was a world leader. Even though he often commanded center stage, he still craved attention. Deep down, most people do. To varying degrees, we’re like those little kids who want someone to notice and affirm us: “Watch me jump! Look at this trick! See what I can do!”
Today’s celebration conveys a message about this human craving. In fact, you might call the Baptism of the Lord the “Feast of Full Attention.” The spotlight is on Jesus, who comes to John as just another penitent in the crowd. Then suddenly, he is singled out as uniquely cherished: the heavens are torn apart, the Spirit descends, and the Father’s voice declares him “my beloved Son.” What a stunning affirmation of Jesus’ importance!
But here’s something just as stunning: the Sacrament of Baptism brings us right into Jesus’ own relationship with the Father! You don’t have to strive for attention, wonder who you are, or question whether your life matters. If you’ve been baptized into Christ, what the Father spoke to Jesus, he speaks to you: “You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter.” Yes, you need to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. And yes, that takes time. But as you make that journey, you can rest secure that you are already God’s beloved child. Everything flows from that.
Today, as the Christmas season comes to a close, why not give one last gift? Offer God your full attention, as you reflect on your baptism. Let him reveal you to yourself and show you how greatly you are loved. As you give God your full attention, you will discover how much you have his.
“Abba! Father! Thank you that I am your beloved child.”~WAU