The baptism of the Lord celebrates a third epiphany and the end of the Christmas season. The decorations are down although the crib remains in place til Candlemas.
For me this feast brings with it space of Ordinary Time to breathe and reflect (if only for a short while) on my faith life.
I have always thought that the making of new year resolutions that encourage us to become abstemious or even give up things, an odd custom, when we are still in full party mode celebrating the Incarnation.
It seemed particularly noticeable this year with all the ‘end of a decade’ notifications on social media. I had it seems, been oblivious to this fact, let alone of the need to make extra special resolutions.
Perhaps this Feast provides a better time to grow new habits as it is through the lens of baptism that my life makes sense.
Baptism fills us with new life, not just at the time of the sacrament but everyday. Baptism is not in the past, but is actively working throughout our lives. With this new life we are called continually to a new start, to return to the Lord and live a life that reflects that we are claimed by Christ. Knowing that I belong to God, that I too am called ‘beloved’ puts the reason for new habits in to a correct perspective, one of faith. Any changes I make, need to come from the place of knowing that I am called to be fully human, ‘I have come that you might have life and have it to the full’.
If I resolve to become fit(ter) or to eat more healthily it is not because the advertising that tells me I am not perfect or I will be a happier for these resolutions tell me to be less when in reality I am called to be more, more of whom I am created to be.
If I resolve to look at my carbon footprint it is because I recognise I am connected with all of creation, that with being a Steward I have a responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle.
If I resolve to fight for justice I do so because I believe in the dignity of each and every one of us are created in the image and likeness of God.
Reflection points on the Gospel
This feast marks the end of Christmastide. What word, moment, encounter or revelation from Christmas will continue to nourish you into Ordinary Time? Through our baptism we care called, like Christ, to Servanthood. How do you respond to this invitation? How does being called ‘beloved’ by God impact on your daily life?
What might Jesus ask you to ‘allow it’ to bring you closer to the Father? Your God parents echo God’s love for you. Remember to pray and thank God for them.
How do you model Servanthood within your family? Today is Peace Sunday. How can you be agents for justice? You might get ideas here http://paxchristi.org.uk/
Lord, for all who have made resolutions, may we be filled with the courage and strength of the Holy Spirit to carry them out with the confidence that God only ever wants what is best for us. Amen