Today’s Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 – Baptism of the Lord
It’s one of the great experiences in life: to be chosen for something. Remember walking down the school hallway to where the list of who made the basketball team, or the school play, was posted? And the feeling you got when you saw your name? As we get older, the stakes get higher, but the dynamic is the same: we are “chosen” by a college, an employer, someone who will become our spouse.
What’s the effect in our life of being chosen? Often, it gives us a deep-seated confidence about ourselves. Our lives seem to gain purpose and meaning. We feel God has opened a way for us. And we feel empowered to respond.
In today’s Gospel – the baptism of Jesus – Jesus is identified as the Chosen One: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” You get a public endorsement like that from a booming voice from the clouds, and…you can pretty much let ‘er rip at that point! Which is precisely what Jesus does. From the moment of his baptism, Jesus bursts into the villages of Galilee – preaching, healing, exorcising. Through him, the Kingdom of God erupts into people’s lives. It does so in deep connection with Jesus’ baptism – his moment of being chosen.
And here’s the key for us: this same reality is true for us in whom, through our own baptism, Jesus lives. What God said to Jesus that day – “You are my Beloved” – he says to each of us, because Jesus Christ – God’s beloved Son – is alive in us. In Him, we become lovable to God. In Christ, we too are chosen.
There is one reality, ultimately, that makes us believe that we have an important mission in the world, that fills our life with meaning and purpose, turns us out of ourselves into the world of others. We need to hear the voice of God say into the center of our being: “You are my beloved son; my beloved daughter. You are my chosen. Go, share the Good News!”
When have I felt chosen by God? What do these moments reveal about how God is inviting me to build up the Kingdom?
Lord, grant me a deeper conviction in my identity, with which you gifted me in my baptism: that I am your Beloved, and have been chosen by you. Allow this conviction to fill my life with a joyful determination to play my part in building up your Kingdom.
Copyright 2016 Rev. Louis DelFra, C.S.C.
Fr Lou DelFra, CSC, a former middle and high school teacher, is a member of the faculty and Director of Pastoral Life for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame. ACE provides professional and spiritual formation for teachers and leaders for K-12 Catholic schools.