Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

We now return to ordinary time yet, in light of yesterday’s revelation, no time after baptism could be considered ordinary. Every baptized man, woman and child is as dear to our Heavenly Father as if they were His only child; He loves us with the same love—the Holy Spirit—by Whom He has loved His Son from all eternity.

One of the criticisms of infant baptism is that the infant cannot choose for him or herself, cannot make a free election to receive this sacrament and accept Christ as their savior. Baptism, however, is not merely about accepting Christ, but entering radically into the very depths of His life in the Trinity: baptism is also about becoming a true child of God. Do any of us choose our parents? Is our life a matter of our choice, or is it an undeserved gift that we later come to embrace or reject? The baptism of infants is not only an ancient practice but also a powerful witness to the undeserved grace of the sacrament; it is not we who choose God to be our Father, but He who chooses us to be His children. Our parents, for love of us and for love of the One who made us, open the way for God to drown us in His love. Their responsibility, as they promise at our baptism, is to raise us in such a way that we live this new reality; it ought to have a profound effect on our life.

We can look to today’s Gospel as an example of the radical shift in reality when the grace of our baptism—that call to be children of the Father—takes hold of our hearts. We see that John, who preached of the one who would immerse us in the Father’s love, has been arrested, and now Jesus is the one crying in the wilderness for all to repent.

Along the seashore He encounters several fishermen who, at the invitation of Jesus, drop their nets and follow Him. It is even mentioned that James and John “left their father Zebedee in the boat”; imagine his dismay! Yet in our own baptism we receive a similar call: Jesus invites us to come after Him and enter His life as the Son of God. James and John have not so much left their father as they have begun a new life as sons of God the Father.

Let us use this week, the first week in ordinary time, to consider how we might better allow the waters of this extraordinary gift of baptism to soak more deeply into our hearts and souls. How can we be better children of God and accept Him more and more totally as our Father?

January 12th, 2015