Chapter Talk – Baptism of Jesus – January 9, 2022 – cycle-C
When Jesus descends into the baptismal waters there is an encounter.
What prompted Jesus to go to John and to be baptized? What was in his heart as he descended into the waters of baptism? What was his desire? What was his longing?
Can we say that as he entered the waters of baptism, his heart was wide open in faith? That he surrendered everything to hear, and to offer his life to his Abba? An encounter indeed happened. We know this because as Jesus comes out of the waters, he is praying. Then, the Spirit descends upon him and a voice from the heavens, the voice of God confirms and proclaims: ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased’.
And then there is us…his ‘would be’ followers. Jesus is, as Fr. Killian Mc Donnell wrote “the icon of our salvation…that what was realized in Christ is fully realized in us” (Theological Studies, June 1995, p.213). Are we not invited over and over again to enter the baptismal waters? The baptismal waters are about healing. They are about change. They are about transformation. They are about surrendering in faith all that we know and are, in order to listen and receive the NEW movement of the Spirit. The NEW of God that is knocking upon our hearts and upon the heart of our community.
After Jesus emerges from the waters of baptism, he is praying and then the Spirit descends upon him. Pope Francis said in his Angelus talk today: “Prayer – to use a beautiful image from today’s Gospel – ‘opens the heavens’ (cf. v. 21). Prayer opens the heavens: it gives life oxygen, a breath of fresh air amidst life’s troubles and allows us to see things from a broader perspective. Above all, it enables us to have the same experience of Jesus by the Jordan River: it makes us feel like beloved children of the Father.”
Can we see our descent into the baptismal waters as a prayer, a prayer that opens us in faith, and opens even the heart of God? We are giving our lives to God. We are living our covenantal relationship with each descent into these unknown waters. With each descent we are being renewed in our journey…the power of prayer opens us and makes us available for the encounter with God and enables God to do God’s work in our lives. Going into these waters reaffirms that we, with Jesus, are indeed God’s beloved sons and daughters…And this confirmation gives us strength and courage for the journey ahead.
Sr. Kathy Devico, Abbess