The Baptism of the Lord - Year B - 11th January 2015

Empowered by the Holy Spirit

When Advent began, we heard the words of Isaiah: "O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!" Today God answers this prayer. Jesus, now thirty years old, goes into the River Jordan to be baptized by John. Suddenly the very heavens open and the divine plan is revealed. The Holy Spirit, like a dove, comes down on Jesus and a voice is heard; "You are my son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you".

After his Baptism Jesus goes forth in the power of the Spirit to carry out the mission entrusted to him by the Father. In the Gospel of John he tells us: "My mission is to do the will of him who sent me."

We too have been baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit and sent forth on a mission. To find out what that mission is, each of us has to ask ourselves: "What are the unique gifts that God has given me and how does he want me to use them?"

One way of focusing in on a clear answer to that question is to ask ourselves another question: "When I get to the end of my life and meet my Saviour, what are the kind of things that I would hope Jesus would say to the Father about me?" How have I helped bring about the Father's kingdom through my role as a parent or a single person, a teacher, a social worker, a banker, a builder, an engineer, a friend or as a sister or brother in Christ? Do I see that my participation in each of these roles as truly my mission in life?

When I am ill, housebound, elderly and unable to do all I would want to do, do I offer up my pain, my suffering and anxiety for the sake of Christ's kingdom? Do I see all of these as being part of the Father's will for me?

The more we realize that the power of the Spirit is flowing through us, the more energy we will have for carrying out what would otherwise simply be a boring, daily routine.

PROCLAIM 15, the initiative of our Bishops, is calling on us to share our faith with others. This is the will of the Father for us. Let us respond as Jesus did with joy and diligence. Let us leave behind our half-hearted efforts and show the world what Christianity is really about.

Fr. Kevin O'Shea, C.M.