The Baptism of the Lord
January 10, 2016
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
from Luke 3:15-2
In the Old Testament, it is God the Father whose voice we hear speaking to the Israelites. But now, in our times, he has sent his only begotten Son to speak to the world, the Word of God through whom all things were created. The voice of God the Father will speak directly to us in the Scriptures again only one more time after the Lord’s Baptism and this will be at the Transfiguration, when in Matthew 17 the Father repeats these same words and then adds “Listen to him.” Jesus and his Word are God’s final answer to humanity. God the Father has nothing more to say after this because in Jesus, he has said everything essential we need for salvation.
Am I really listening to Jesus? We live in such a troubled world. By our very nature, human beings look for meaning in their lives, a rule to live by. Some use no guide but themselves or follow others who are equally blind. Why not use a guide to the future who has already been there and knows the way?
In my final year before ordination, my spiritual advisor talked me into going to France on my own for my deacon retreat (as an ex-airline employee I felt at home doing this). The problem was that in the days before GPS, and having no guide or traveling companion (other than the Holy Spirit!), I frequently got lost (I was driving) or could not find the shrines. I learned to stop at the French travel bureau offices along the way, where they spoke English, to book a room for the night at the shrines and find my way. Once I found a competent guide, the trip went well.
Still today Jesus is speaking to us through the scriptures and through the church. Each of us is on a journey from birth to death and eternal life, and on the way we seek meaning for our lives. Without a competent guide, how will we find the way? The Father has given us Jesus as a sure guide through every circumstance and every choice we make. What truly gives meaning to our lives is making a choice in faith for God and living for others, not just ourselves. A life of selfishness is meaningless in the end. What one will discover when crossing into eternity that everything we gave away of ourselves will be given back to us as a permanent possession, and our faith in Christ will be rewarded. Jesus, through the Scriptures and through His Church, is our sure guide in the coming year ahead, no matter what happens!