Reflection by Colleen O’Dowd
Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:14-17
One of the most clever questions I ever got from a young person — which I didn’t know how to answer and had to go look up (and, full disclosure, ask for help) — was this:
“Did people who were baptized by John in the Jordan before Jesus have to be baptized again once Jesus had lived, died, resurrected and ascended?”
The answer is yes — because John’s baptism, like other prophets who baptized at that time, was a baptism of repentance. A baptism signified a change of life, a turning around, a preparation for something (or in this case — someone) else. The baptism you and I celebrate is one of the Spirit — in the person and name of our Trinitarian God. It washes away our original sin and sins of our lives, but we are still left with the effects of the Fall: temptation and a proclivity to sin.
We didn’t have that baptism available to us — that ability to die unto ourselves and rise out of that water to new life — until Jesus did it for us. Once for all. On the cross.
Those disciples of John from today’s gospel ask a fair question: they want to be sure they haven’t followed the wrong guy. They see what Jesus offers is fuller (pun intended) than fasting. We should fast and pray. It prepares us for something bigger. Something better. Something fuller: eternal life. But those things don’t prepare God — they prepare us.
To celebrate the bridegroom. To sport the finest cloaks. To drink the new wine.
Today is the feast of St. Maria Goretti, the youngest martyr in the church, but also someone who lived out her baptism. Her great love and sacrifice paved the way for one of our church’s greatest stories about mercy and holiness.
Do I know the date of my baptism? How well am I living out my baptism?
Lord Jesus, help me to follow You more closely this week. I know You have given me gifts unique to me to serve the world. Help me to know Your plan for my life, through the gifts of Your Holy Spirit from my own baptism and Confirmation.
Copyright 2019 Colleen O’Dowd
Colleen O’Dowd is the Director of Faith Formation & Evangelization at Holy Spirit Parish in Stevens Point, WI. She loves being Catholic, her Converse all-stars are always liturgically correct, and she is a super-saint-geek! She blogs ultra-occasionally at ourheartswereburningwithin.wordpress.com and can also be found @catholiccolleen on Twitter and Instagram.
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