Our baptismal calling!

The baptism of Jesus was not only the day when he had a special experience of God’s favour; it was also the day when he publicly took on the role of God’s servant.  Jesus’ baptism was both of grace and commission. As Peter announced to Cornelius in today’s second reading, after his baptism, Jesus went about doing good, and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.  Today’s first reading, although written long before Jesus was born, describes the mission of Jesus very well. He brings true justice to the nations; by his words and deeds, Jesus makes known the just or right way that God wants us all to take, and that Jesus took to the full.  In making known God’s justice, that first reading also declares that he ‘does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame.’ Jesus’ mission was characterised by a heightened awareness of the weak and vulnerable.Our own baptism, like that of Jesus, was both a gift and a commission.  In bestowing favour upon us, God at the same time calls us to become his servants.  On the day of our baptism, we are commissioned as servants of God, after the example of Jesus.  As God endowed Jesus with the Spirit, so that he could bring true justice to the nations, at our baptism we were endowed with the same Spirit for the same purpose.  In the power of the Spirit we are called to live in that same just way Jesus lived. In the words of the first reading, baptism calls us ‘to serve the cause of right’.  That will involve for us, as it did for Jesus, taking care not ‘to break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame’.  Those who are crushed for whatever reason, whose flame is barely flickering, are deserving of our greatest care and attention.  We show that we really appreciate the gift of our baptism, when we support the vulnerable, and strengthen the weak in our families, our communities and our society.  This is our baptismal calling!

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