Mark 1:9-15 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Reflection Baptism is the beginning, the beginning of a new covenant relationship between God and us. Baptism is the beginning of a new way of being and participating in life. Baptism is all about we, the living body of Christ on earth, the community of beloveds recognized by the way we live for the good of one another.
Being a Christian does not necessarily mean we believe certain things; Jesus‘ birth from a virgin, every word of the Nicene Creed. Being a Christian does not necessarily mean we do certain things; go to church on Sunday, give money to charities, read the Bible every day.
Being a Christian means following Jesus, walking the way of the cross, the way of giving our lives to suffer with and for all of humanity. For some of us that means listening when a friend describes their pain for the seven hundredth time. For others it means bringing meals to the homebound, or speaking out against customs, rules or laws that marginalize or oppress groups of people identified as “other;” the disabled, the aged or infirm, people of lesser or more education, resource or intellect, people of a different race or religion or no religion at all.
For as long as we submit to labeling anyone as ‘other’ we are forgetting our commission and Jesus’ poignant prayer; “Not my will, but your will be done.”
Jesus dove full into life, revealing God’s love for lepers, maniacs reprobates, and “others.” He built no walls. He stretched no fences. By our baptism we are commissioned to likewise, to live and die for one another.
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