Today’s Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17 – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
In submitting himself to baptism by John, Jesus submits Himself to human necessity. Only by fully embracing frail flesh and all the other trappings of mortality — water, bread, wine — only thus could Jesus serve as a model for us to follow in our own daily, mundane lives.
But, as John the Baptist aptly demonstrates, Jesus’ embracing of humanity is difficult to grasp and accept in practice. “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
In the book Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Father Michael Gaitley offers us another opportunity to serve Jesus: an invitation to imagine ourselves consoling Him as He hangs, dying, on the cross. In God’s time, the eternal now called kairos, the crucifixion is happening at every moment in eternity. Fr. Gaitley rightly points out that Christ, in His humanity, desires consolation at the crucifixion. He suffered, in the most complete and utterly human way, the desolation of pain and loneliness.
In kairos, we can sit with Jesus in that pain. We cannot alleviate or stop it, but we can accompany Him as He takes His last breath.
So often, we turn to Jesus for consolation in our sorrows and need. Both of these moments, though, illustrate that our relationship with Jesus is never just a one-way street. He wants to supply our need and pour out His love and grace upon us, of course. But He also wants to come to us in His need, to humble Himself to be served by us.
When we offer Jesus what we are able to do, however small or seemingly insignificant that ability, the action of offering is itself pleasing to Him, even though it’s not “necessary.”
How marvelous a gift, to have a God who reaches out to us in this way.
How can you honor the humanity of Jesus by offering to love and serve Him today?
Dear God, thank You for sending Your Son to live among us, to know us fully, and to be loved by us.
Copyright 2020 Christy Wilkens
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