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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

1043: Our baptism invites us to uphold the life of each one in a dignified world, a license to serve

Day 1043: Monday, January 23, 2023

Our baptism invites us to uphold the life of each one in a dignified world. It's a license to serve.

We hear in the gospel that Christ showed up like everyone else to be baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River. In the presence of all, therefore, Christ’s sonship was publicly proclaimed by a heavenly voice: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). The fondness of Christ’s relationship with God is revealed as pleasing and delightful just as that of believers (Rom. 1:7, 1 John 4:10).

The reception of the Holy Spirit and divine anointing prepare Jesus for the ministry of justice (Luke 4:18).

He dedicates his life to serving humanity, restoring the poor to a place of honor and dignity, rehabilitating those on the fringes of social life and relationship, and freedom for those whose experience of self-flourishing is controlled or denied in a social system that is designed to keep them out. Jesus reveals to us what happens to a believer who is anointed at baptism and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Just as Christ acknowledges that he must get on with doing the work of God (John 9:4), likewise our baptism prepares us to get involved and to share in the work of God for the salvation of the world. We are called for the ministry of justice in the world as the prophet Isaiah said in the first reading (Isa. 42:3). Through our baptism in Christ and our relationship with God we become people of justice. Our experience of the reception of the Spirit of God prepares us for service in the saving plan of God for the world.

In Gaudete et Exsultate (On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World), Pope Francis reminds us that our union with Christ “entails reproducing in our own lives various aspects of Jesus’ earthly life: his life in community, his closeness to the outcast, his poverty and other ways in which he showed his self-sacrificing love.” Our lives of baptismal initiation in Christ invite us to uphold the dignity of every child of God, to express goodwill toward everyone—especially the poor and vulnerable—and to consciously care for creation.

To each one of us and to those whose baptismal initiation we witness, Pope Francis reminds us that our “identification with Christ and [the will of Christ] involves a commitment to build with him that kingdom of love, justice, and universal peace.”

Our baptism in Christ, therefore, invites us to uphold the life of each one in a dignified world.

The Good News for our Emmaus celebration

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Now the Temple authorities sent emissaries from Jerusalem – priests and Levites – to talk to John. “Who are you?” they asked.

This is John's testimony: he didn't refuse to answer, but freely admitted “I am not the Messiah”

“Who are you then?” They asked. “Elijah?”

“No, I am not," he answered. "Are you the prophet?" "No," he replied.

Finally they said to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you have to say for yourself?"

John said, "I am, as Isaiah prophesied, the voice of someone crying out in the wilderness. “Make straight our God’s road!”

The emissaries were members of the Pharisee sect and they questioned him further: "If you're not Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, then why are you baptizing people?"

John said, "I baptize with water because among you stands someone whom you don't recognize- One who is to come after me—the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy even to untie."

This occurred in Bethany, across the Joran River, where John was baptizing.

The next day, catching sight of Jesus approaching, John exclaimed "Look, there's God's sacrificial lamb, who takes away the world's sin! This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'The one who comes after me ranks ahead of me, for this One existed before I did.'”

“I didn't recognize him, but it was so that he would be revealed to Israel that I came baptizing with water."

John also gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and she came to rest on him. I didn't recognize him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, When you see the Spirit descend and rest on someone, that is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit,'”

“Now I have seen for myself and have testified that this is the Only Begotten of God,"

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