Saturday, January 11, 2014

Baptism of Jesus: Defining Moment

Today, for your weekend reflection and prayer, let me suggest you consider all or one particular point I am suggesting.  It is the truly Ignatian style of meditation: using three points (not necessarily having to complete all three in your prayer time) and concluding with a time of personal conversation with God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today’s readings are as follows: 
Is 42:1-4, 6-7; (2) Acts 10:34-38; Mt 3;13-17

First Point:  Defining moments in one’s life:  experiences that provide clear visions of what life should be at a particular time in one’s history.  For a few moments, recall (and perhaps worthwhile to list) significant “defining moments” in your life.  Perhaps you have seen your life’s mission in the following:  a decision to marry a particular person; learning of a first and/or subsequent pregnancies and the birth of a child and later children; facing a terminal illness in one’s self or another; a major promotion at work;  assisting and offspring, relative or friend who reveals to you his/her homosexuality; the loss of a marriage partner to death or divorce, etc, etc, etc.  What context did your defining moment(s) give to your life especially if they occurred unexpectedly?

Second Point:  Jesus’ “defining moment” occurred at the River Jordan.  Recounted by each of the four evangelists is the baptism of Jesus by his cousin, John, also an itinerant preacher.  Jesus’ request to John to perform the ceremony of his (Jesus’) baptism is a signal to us that his Jesus’ public life would be marked by actions that are humble and unexpected.  Allowing John to baptism him, Jesus affirms John and his mission.  Do not overlook that our Sacrament of Baptism is the moment of one’s acceptance into the mystery of our life as a child of God.  Has your own baptism or the baptism of your child(ren) or the time of your accepting the role of Godparent been one of those “defining moments” in your life?

Third Point:  Life is filled with the routine … from the moment of awaking each day until the beginning of regenerative sleep at day’s end.  Some times this pattern of sameness allows us to overlook God’s gift of a “defining moment” and its consequences in our lives.  Someone might ask for help, especially someone who has, perhaps, been distance from you.  You may see a young person hurting him/herself and your heart moves you to talk sympathetically because you may have been in the same spot once in your life.  We must be aware of the deeply powerful spirituality of moments like these.  Can you recall similar moments in your life?  Have you wondered why you saw such a moment?  When moments like these bring either confusion or lack of clarity, it is the time to stop and listen for the voice of God, the Holy Spirit working in your heart.  It is the same God who spoke to Jesus as he experienced his moment of Baptism.  It is the voice of God to Jesus that all in his life would be directed by the Holy Spirit.  This same Holy Spirit, in these defining moments, is offering guidance.  We might ask “Guidance for what? or Guidance where?”  Defining moments are  powerful moments calling us to learn what God longs for and desires to be present in our lives.  It is in these moments that we must realize that these moments are meant to give us assurances of God’s abundance of love which he wishes to shower upon us.

Now time for some quiet and personal prayer.   Conclude with an Our Father or Hail Mary.