The Baptism of the Lord (Rosalino Reyes Dizon)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

Author: Rosalino Reyes Dizon .

A native of the Philippines, Ross Reyes Dizon lives with his wife, Melody, in Vallejo, California. They are the parents of two grown-up sons, Vincent and Justin, and grandparents of 19-month old Maximilian Frédéric. Ross has been posting Sunday readings reflections to various Vincentian web sites, including this site.

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Can you … be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized? (Mk. 10:38)

Jesus receives the “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  He accepts his mission and, while praying, is endorsed as God’s Son and his Servant, the anointed with the Holy Spirit.

The anointing of the Servant makes clear his mission:  to bear our guilt in order to justify us (Is 53).  In other words, the mission of the one who does not know sin is to make himself one with us sinners, to be sin, so that we may become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

We who are baptized partake of this mission.  This means, among other things, that the authentic Christian prays.  The Christians prays humbly, like the tax collector and not like the Pharisee who dare flaunt his religious practices before the one who is proclaimed “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

It goes without saying that we who partner with Jesus in his mission cannot be so very sure of our religiosity or too boastful of our religious pedigree, scorning those we call sinners.  We will admit that God’s thoughts and ways are not necessarily our thoughts and ways, that God can raise up children to Abraham from stones.  We are not going to replace those self-righteous individuals who complained that Jesus rubbed elbows with sinners.

Nor shall we let ourselves be prisoners of the customary partiality.  Through baptism, we are all one in Christ Jesus, Abraham’s descendants and heirs according to the promise; among the baptized, there should not be any discrimination on the basis of being Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female (Gal 3:26-29).  In the Church, one always prays to the Master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.  But does he not perhaps send us many, except that we do not recognize them, blinded that we are by our supposed orthodoxy?  Or perhaps, because of too much comfort, we are as insensitive as the rich man who paid no attention to the law and the prophets and to Lazarus.  A man of prayer that he was, St. Vincent de Paul was sensitive and capable of everything, including partnering creatively with women.

So be our prayer or be “the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” (Karl Barth).  An integral part of the Christian mission is to see to it that the Christian order prevails.  In it, the poor are blessed, to be first is to be the slave of all, in the manner of the Son of Man who came to serve and to give his body up and shed his blood as a ransom for all.

We the baptized, then,  are commissioned to share in the poverty and simplicity of the King of the world whom the shepherds found wrapped in swaddling clothes, and to pray that Jesus make the “Church a notable example of poverty and simplicity” (cf. the intercessions, Morning Prayers for December 31 and for Thursday—from January 2 to Epiphany, Liturgy of the Hours).  But do we seriously like to be, as envisioned by “The Pact of the Catacombs” (cf., the servant and poor Church of the suffering and poor Servant?

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