Dear People of God,
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus. What does this mean? We speak of Jesus getting baptized by John—a powerful story we have heard many times in our lives. It’s not so important to say how many times we have been through the Gospel passage. More importantly, how many times has this marvelous Gospel story of Jesus’ Baptism been through us?
The Baptism of Our Lord must also make all of us reflect upon our Baptism. What does it mean to be a baptized disciple of the Lord? What difference should it make as I live my life at home, school or in the workplace? How does my Baptism shape my attitudes regarding relationships in terms of loving, giving and forgiving? Regarding Social Justice?
I share with you this marvelous story which connects Jesus’ Baptism by John and our Baptism. We need to continually love this world back into life! Read . . . and pass it on . . . . . . .
Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
“Today my best friend slapped me in the face.”
They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:
“Today my best friend saved my life.”
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now you write on a stone. Why?”
The friend replied, “When someone hurts us we should write it down in the sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”
Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. Take the time to live! Stop living in the past! Do not value the things you have in your life, but value who you have in your life!
Baptism involves not only what I do, but what I allow God to do through me—keep reading!
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend a weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway and cars costing more than her house. The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so she was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single, darkened penny that someone had dropped and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value. A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
“Look at it,” he said. “Read what is says.” She read the words, “United States of America.” “No, not that; read further.” “One cent?” “No, keep reading.” “In God we Trust?” “Yes!” “And?” “And if I trust in God, the name of the God is holy, even on a coin.
“Whenever I find a coin, I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him! Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at the moment. I pick up the coin as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, In God We Trust, and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient.
Searching with you,