Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lk 3:15-22 The Baptism of The Lord

Lk 3:15-22  The Baptism of The Lord
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ.  John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.  I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized…, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him…A voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Why on earth did the Lord get baptized?  Only sinners need baptism.  Was the Lord a sinner?  No.  Did He need to be baptized?  No.  Then why? 
I am not sure.  I am not 100% sure.  But knowing Him, I would have to say that He wanted to be with us.
Who did the Lord spend most of his time with?  Was it with the religious?  No.  Was it with the people He liked most?  No.  It was with the humble and the sinners.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, spent nearly all his time and ministry talking to, listening to, and dealing with sinners.   I am not surprised in the least that He would get in line and be baptized by John.
The Lord wants to be with us.  The question is:  do we want to be with Him? 
Not too long ago, I was communicating (by e-mail) with an atheist.  I actually enjoyed the conversations we were having.  I told him that I would like to continue the dialogue.  He wrote back with the following:  “To be honest with you, I think I am wasting my time.”  
A waste of time?  Interesting… What he is saying is that the risk of losing eternity is not worth a few minutes a day.  Interesting.  Very interesting.
See for yourself what an atheist has to offer us.  See how much we have to offer them.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.  I find this statement truly remarkable, for it takes a very special man (a humble man) to admit something like this; to say that they are not God and that they are not the Savior of the world.   I’m not kidding.  A lot of folks really think they are.  A lot!  They truly believe it.  And here is the proof:  the few empty chairs at Mass. 
This morning, while I was giving the homily, I noticed an empty chair.  I walked down to it.  I looked at it.  I even imagined a person who should be sitting in it [Yes, I was a little dramatic regarding the whole thing.].  I told the congregation, “Someone is missing.  Of course we would love to think that they are sick or unable to attend today’s Mass, but we all know the truth.  We know that many people do not go to Church because they truly believe they can make it without God’s help or that they don’t need God 'all the time'". 
When Christ chose His Apostles He said to them, “Follow me”. The Twelve knew what that meant.  It meant following the Lord twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of their lives.  The Apostles didn’t say to Jesus, “Okay, Lord, we’ll see you next week.  Hey, by the way, same time, same place?” 
No.  Following meant all the time and in everything.
When I was living in Mexico, I discovered La Michoacana (Mexican ice cream).  It’s great stuff.  And the flavors are as many as there are fruit.  So, while I was learning Spanish, I decided to learn every single flavor of ice cream I could.  Every day I chose a different flavor.  I didn’t immediately like every flavor.  Some flavors were bitter; others were sweet.  But I forced myself to taste all of them.  Gradually, I acquired a taste for many of them.  From this experience, I learned a great lesson. 
So often we deal with Christ like we deal with ice cream:  we pick and choose only the flavors we like.  So we end up always picking the same flavors or very few flavors. 
When you go to Christ, do you go to Him like you go to an ice cream parlor?   Do you go for the same reasons (flavors) all the time?  That is, the “merciful” Lord; the “compassionate” Lord; the “loving” Lord?  Have you ever tried anything else?  Like the “obedient” Lord; the “faithful” Lord; the “sacrificial” Lord?
It's time we all try it!  Let's try it!  Let's try to mature in our faith.  Let's try to acquire a taste for the Lord:  “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (Ps 34:8). 
We shouldn’t just follow the Lord once a week.  That’s not following; that’s bothering.  Likewise, we can’t just pick and choose some teachings (flavors) of the Lord.  We need to try them all, the sweet as well as the bitter.  We need to acquire a taste for all of Him, for the crucified Lord is as important as the Risen Lord.       

Only then, only this way, will we even hope to hear, at the end of our lives, the same words that the Father spoke to His son:  “You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.”     

3 comments:

  1. 'Picking and choosing' seems to be a common criticism that atheists like to throw at Christians. Are they not right about this though? Have you ever known anybody who followed the Bible word for word? I personally think there are some parts of the Bible that had more to do with the culture at the time when it was written rather than something that was meant to continue to be followed, but I have difficulty explaining exactly why I think certain things should still be followed and others should not. I think within the Christian community, such as with issues like same-sex marriage, we have that difficulty as well. Some Christians say "the Bible says homosexuality is a sin" and others say "that part of the Bible is referring to the pagan rituals of the time." Other examples include men shaving beards, women cutting their hair, dietary restrictions, etc. How would you explain this, especially to an atheist?

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  2. Father Alfonse,

    I don't even live close to St. Monica and I go to every First Friday, Saturday and Sunday Mass. I also receive the Body and Blood of our Lord every time I attend Mass. There has been several times when I've gone to two Masses in the same day. Just because there's a Saturday Vigil Mass doesn't mean that you can't go on Sunday too. Attending Mass on a regular basis is a beautiful gift. What about these people that only go on Easter and Christmas?

    My parents raised of all us to attend Mass every Sunday. At that time, they had no Vigil Mass. My parents are now gone and my siblings have strayed from the Catholic Faith. My daughter was baptized Catholic and we always took her to church with us. Now, she has strayed and she can't understand why I love going to Mass and receiving Communion. All I can do is pray for her that she'll come back into the Catholic Church. Going to Mass is just part of my day.







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  3. Father,

    Great meditation as always. I especially like thinking of my Catholic faith as a huge ice cream parlor with sooooooooo many flavors to choose from. Sorrowful mysteries, joyful mysteries,glorious mysteries,the sacraments, stations of the cross, the lives of the saints! So many delicious flavors. Some are definitely sweeter than others. And we have the most diverse flavors out of any other parlor.

    Did you enjoy living in Mexico? how long were you there for? did you get to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe?

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