A Defining Moment for Jesus – and for Us

Many people experience times in their life which prove to be decisive turning points. They reach a cross roads where they are challenged with radically different choices which can change the entire direction of their life. God’s grace is at work calling a person to go down a new path on their journey. I can think of a couple of people to whom this happened.

Matt Talbot was an alcoholic drinking himself to death. One day he was standing outside a pub, begging for money so as to buy a drink. People he thought were his friends passed him by. Suddenly Matt’s eyes were opened. He saw that he was destroying himself, and he made the decision to give up drinking, and to try, with the grace of God, to become a saint. Today he is known as Venerable Matt Talbot, on his way to one day being canonized a saint.

Mother Teresa was a member of the Sisters of Loretto, teaching in a prestigious school for girls in Calcutta. One day she was traveling by train to make her annual retreat. It was on the train that she experienced Jesus calling her to something new, that being to tend to the needs of the poor. She left her religious order, founded the Missionaries of Charity, and spent the rest of her life working among the poor in the gutters of Calcutta. Today she is a canonized saint.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It was a defining moment for Jesus as he stepped out of the Jordan River and the Spirit descended upon him. The voice of the Father was heard, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Prior to this he had led a relatively quiet life as a carpenter in Nazareth. However, during these so called hidden years, he was being prepared for the mission for which the Father had sent him into the world. A radical change from what he was used to, as he embraced his mission with love and zeal for bringing about the Kingdom of God.

At baptism we were given a dignity, a mission, and a destiny. The dignity bestowed upon us through the waters of baptism is that we are the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. The mission entrusted to us is to spread the Kingdom in our midst by faithfully living the Gospel. The destiny that awaits us is fullness of life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pope Francis has said that we should annually celebrate the day of our baptism as it was the beginning of our new life in Christ, the start of our journey of faith. 

May we give praise and thanks to God for inviting us to share in this new and abundant life through the waters of baptism. May we always remember our dignity, our mission, and our destiny.

— Fr. Dennis, January 10, 2021