January 8, 2018
Feast of the The Baptism of the Lord
The Gospel Today
This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Reflection (Sem. Edgar R. Calma)
Human experience reveals to us that we have the inclination and tendency to compare. Comparison is an approach when we are purchasing anything for our use to support and confirm the option appropriate for us. Hence, in doing so, we focus on the quality, superlatives and greatness. But sometimes, when we compare we also focus on stability, sustainability and longevity — something that will truly endure and hopefully last.
In the Gospel, there are two important characteristics which are very essential and significant in human relationships. These two are humility and intimacy. “This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: One mightier that I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals” (Mk 1:7). John the Baptist perfectly recognizes his mission. He understood well that he is not the messiah. He is the precursor, the one who will prepare the people for the coming of the messiah. The humility of John reveals to us how deep and unfathomable his understanding of his mission. On the other hand, we also see the intimacy of the Father with Jesus whom He called Son. “And a voice came from the heavens, You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased” Mk 1:11).
To embrace humility, it is important that we consider the following ingredients in life: our total surrender, complete dependence and unwavering trust in the grace of God. For the many times that we feel preoccupied with power, possession and prestige and yet life becomes meaningless, worst we even feel insecure, unsatisfied and empty, humility is key in understanding that we are not always in control because there is a God who is the one truly in control of our life. He will sustain us in the ups and downs of life. That is why, humility is also the key to intimacy with God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is our model, the ultimate example and epitome of what is to humble oneself before God. As St. Paul wrote to his letter to the Philippians, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and found human appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” To be intimate with God is not a one-time big time event. To grow in intimacy is a daily encounter with the one whom we truly love. It is a daily expression of humility, sacrifice and fidelity. It is to embrace our daily crosses, total trust and surrender to God’s will. For greatness in the eyes of God is not all about being the smartest, richest and the best, but having the attitude of total surrender, complete dependence and fidelity in doing His will, so too, God will bless our new beginnings this new year as He reveal to us His love and say: “ You are my beloved Son, do not be afraid, I will be with you, for you are mine.”