This Week’s Vincentian Reflection
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
January 13, 2013
Gospel: (Luke 3:15-16; 21-22)
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
As Jesus was baptized by John, so must we be baptized –not just in the waters of repentance but by the Holy Spirit and fire which calls us, too, to give ourselves to God. Thus receiving the Spirit in our own baptism manifests our identity as ones who are saved, renewed, justified and heirs of eternal life, that is, those who also share in God’s life. Being baptized by fire means that we share in Jesus’ mission. We come to an appreciation of all this when we, like Jesus, contemplate this mystery of baptism in prayer. As we appreciate more and more who we are and what we are to do, we gradually come to realize that we ourselves are God’s presence for another. (Living Liturgy, p.36)
The fire of the Holy Spirit gives us the grace to be God’s presence for another: “The best thing to give…to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a mother, reverence; to your father, conduct that will make him proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all people, charity.” All that was precisely what Jesus Christ did. That, too, was what His Mother did. It was what St. Vincent de Paul and all God’s saints did. May we be strengthened to do likewise.
(McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.728)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
What are the “best things” that the fire of the Holy Spirit calls you to give?
The heavens are opened and the Spirit of God comes to rest upon Jesus,
-Spirit of God, rest upon us
For all who have been baptized by water and the fire of the Holy Spirit,
-may we be the presence of God to one another.
Christ, the Anointed, you began your public ministry after your baptism,
-may we offer person-to-person service to the suffering
Christ, the Beloved, you emptied yourself in love for the human family,
-open our hearts to the poorest and most abandoned in the
spirit of St. Vincent and Blessed Frederic. Amen