Fr. Dae Kim, MM, reflects on how today's feast calls us to a renewal of faith.
Few Christians know on what day they were baptized and even fewer celebrate it. The important thing, of course, is not to remember a rite, but to be grateful for the faith that has marked our lives, often since we were children, and to assume with renewed joy our lives of faith.
For us, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord that we celebrate today is an invitation to remember our baptism and to reaffirm ourselves more responsibly in our faith. To do so, perhaps the first thing we can each do is ask if faith occupies a central place in our life, or if it is reduced to an artificial addition that still has some importance, but which we could do without great consequences. In other words, is it faith that guides and inspires our entire life, or do we live rather sustained and stimulated only by the pursuit of well-being, the enjoyment of life, work occupations, and our little projects?
It is easy to forget that faith is not a thing we possess, but a living and personal relationship with God which grows deeper and more endearing over time. Our faith should not be reduced to accepting theoretically what the Church tells us, but rather seeking to open ourselves in a humble and trusting way to God. To open ourselves to God the practices of external rites, routine prayers, and confessions are important but not enough. Ultimately all Church practices exist to help us believe in Jesus Christ, to listen to his Word interiorly, and to accept his Gospel.
Therefore, our faith development is a desire to get to know the person of Jesus Christ and his Gospel message in a more profound way.
Furthermore, faith is not something that is lived alone and privately. It is a mistake to think of faith as a kind of a personal hobby. As the faithful we celebrate, thank God, sing, and enjoy our faith in the embrace of a Christian community. Our faith is renewed, nurtured, and sustained within the community of the faithful.
Just as Jesus opened himself to be baptized and to receive the Holy Spirit, this day we also humbly welcome the creative presence of God in all of us. We open ourselves to be purified and be shaped by the same Spirit that animated all of Jesus’ actions. Doing so we will hear in the depths of our hearts that we are also the beloved children of God and that God is well pleased.
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