January 12, 2008

Lundagin mo baby!

Feast of the Lord’s Baptism
Matthew 3:13-17 - “Let it be so for now… to fulfill all righteousness”

One day, the King invited everybody for a big feast. A day before the feast, rain came and turned the road muddy. Everybody came except for a young man who was hesitant to join the feast when he accidentally fell flat on the muddy road. The King came and warmly asked him to join the feast. The man replied, “I am not worthy, my King. My clothes are muddy.” Without any warning, the King suddenly jumped and rolled himself into the mud, then said, “Now, you can come to the feast and join the celebration”

The Feast of Lord’s Baptism liturgically ends the Christmas season and the beginning of the ordinary time. Now is the time to leave Bethlehem and move on, like the three wise men. On New Year’s Eve, children are asked to jump to grow physically. Today, on the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, God asks us to jump in the name of love to grow spiritually.

John’s baptism was for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus had no need of baptism for he was Son of God and faultless. But He voluntarily jumped into the Jordan River as a sign that he willed to assume the burdens of our sins – death on the cross (Mark 10:38) for our salvation as prophesized by Isaiah. His “jump to Jordan River” was to "fulfil all righteousness," that was, submitting Himself entirely to the Father's will to save humanity. The Father's voice responded to the Son's obedience, proclaimed His delight in His Son, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17) The baptism of Jesus then signifies God’s jumping out of His comfort zone (divine nature) to an unsheltered zone of uncertainties (human nature).

Our baptism then is a call to “jump out” from our “comfort zones” in the name of love. Yet we are afraid to leave our comfort zones and risk ourselves because we are afraid to lose control and be vulnerable. We failed to realize that the source of our frustration is our desire to control people and situation, inability to trust God into the unknown and be vulnerable to others.

To make this world a little better place to live frequently proves agonizing; because we cannot control people, nature, and situation. Everybody wants the driver’s seat... John the Baptist even asked Jesus to be in control: 'I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?' But Jesus answered him, 'Let it be so for now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.' John then realized that Jesus was teaching him a very important lesson on spiritual maturity – Allow the Father to control, Trust Him and Jump! No worries. The Lord knows the way, trust God and you will never be disappointed. Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”(Luke 23:4). He trusted the Father. He jumped.

A young lady is in constant fight with her parents. She says her parents do not listen and know nothing but to scold her. I do understand the wisdom of our parents. We do not want our children to commit mistakes. We want to give them bright future and happy life. But the more we control our children, the more we lose them. Try the jump of trust. Listen to them first and they will listen to you. Set them free and they will love you. Let them have their own jump – the jump of responsibility. A dying cancer patient suddenly smiles in the midst of pain and the reality of death. He finally gave up of his favourite question, “Why me Lord?” and faithfully said “I trust the Lord.” A jump of faith. A successful young accountant in Makati left his high salaried job and entered the priesthood. A jump of yes to the call! A doctor who decided to stay in Cagayan de Oro city and go to far-flung barrios of Bukidnon on weekends for free medical check up. A jump of service. All in the name of responding to the call of love to serve, even to the point of leaving one’s comfort zone – following Jesus’ footsteps. In the end, when they hit the bed at night, they will hear the Father proclaims with delight, ‘This is my child with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17).

What are our comfort zones? What are our zones of challenges and growth? Renew your baptismal promises today. We are baptized for mission! We share Jesus’ priestly, prophetic, and kingly call! Fear not. Trust God and Jump! … Lundagin mo baby!

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