As we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we mark the official end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. The words spoken by the Father to those gathered, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” are also directed to us. God is indeed well pleased with us because we are His beloved children.
Jesus was baptized not because he needed to be forgiven of any sin; rather, Jesus modeled for us what being a Christian is all about. Jesus’ baptism calls to mind our original innocence which was lost because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Through Christ, all of us have the opportunity to be restored back to God’s grace.
Our response to being baptized is also modeled by Jesus: After his baptism, Jesus went about doing good. He lived the words written by the Prophet Isaiah. We, too, are called to “be a light for the nations, open the eyes of the blind, and bring out prisoners from confinement.” In other words, our mission is the same as Jesus’ mission: to evangelize the world by living the Gospel.
Within our parishes, we have many opportunities to become evangelizers and exercise our baptismal calling. Some of these experiences are limited in scope, such as donating blood, bringing in canned foods for a pantry, or participating in a service project. Other opportunities require more of a time commitment such as being an usher or serving on a commission or Parish Council. It does not matter whether you are able to share of yourself for a limited time or a more extended time. What really matters is that you share of yourself.
Our response to baptism is Christian action in the world. As people of faith, we are invited to exercise our baptismal call each and every day. May we never fear using our God-given gifts and talents to become the servant of whom Isaiah speaks. May this Feast of the Lord’s Baptism challenge us to more faithfully live out the call to evangelize in word and in deed.