Champwise

Bring Jesus Christ to Others

After a hopeful and holiday season, the surge comes strong. While there were warnings about its possibility, no one was able to anticipate the magnitude of the CoViD19 cases reaching this much nowadays. Many people took time to do reunions in the days leading to the New Year, after being out of sight from their families for long periods since the pandemic began. Yet today, after the rise in cases are reaching record highs, the common feeling is that all the memories seemed to have been deemed unimportant, as individuals and families cope with fear and anxiety over the threat of the Omicron variant.

The world is grieving and is in chaos. The many cases of CoViD-19 experienced all over the world, whether in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia and elsewhere have made it difficult for everyone. Added to that are the many challenges for the many who have been hit by the recent typhoon in Central Philippines. Up to now, power hasn’t been fully restored in Cebu and the adjacent provinces owing to the enormous amount of damage in the electricity and power lines. It is indeed a time when people are afraid and uncertain what tomorrow would bring. 

This is also the same situation that the people of Israel experienced at the time of Christ. In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3: 15-16, 21-22), the situation was partly described,

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. 

There was widespread poverty and being under the rule of powerful Rome added to the challenges of those times. We can hear the proclamation of John in the early verses of Luke Chapter 3. Because of his preaching and baptism of repentance, the people were full of anticipation, but 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.

He didn’t claim to be the Messiah but instead, faithfully and without any selfish interest whatsoever, revealed that one mightier is coming.

In the present time, the Gospel comes when everyone’s hope is threatened and the agony of waiting for what will happen in the next few days is given a fresh perspective. John’s response that one “mightier” is coming, and that “He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire”, enkindles the flickering flame in our hearts, even if more than two thousand years have separated us from that time. The message is timeless, such that even if the days appear gloomy and dark, the Good News is that Jesus Christ is God’s beloved Son, and with it, comes the promise of “healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God is with him.” (Second Reading Acts 10: 34-38).

Indeed, the people of the world is being oppressed by the evil one, and if we aren’t careful, we can become confused and miserable without appreciating clearly what’s happening around us. All these confusion and chaos are the works of the evil one, and our faith is being tested severely. We should be more vigilant, watch our reactions to what’s happening, and recognize if our faith and trust in the Lord is waning and fading. If it is, we should wake up our eyes and minds, and restore back our faith in the Almighty God’s power and dominion over all of nature.

We have to remember that as God’s faithful servants what is important is that we have to face these challenges without fear and distress. We may struggle with it, but we must persevere in prayer and meditation. We have to recall God’s presence in our lives as the source of our power and strength. These are infinitely more powerful and universal. Know that God is with you and He won’t ever fail you. Of course, we have to remember that who reverently “fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him.” (Second Reading)

In this Baptism of the Lord Sunday, may we become obedient and faithful to our calling. May we have the strength to persevere and just like St. John the Baptist, to offer everything that we are facing to Jesus, who must “increase” while we “decrease” in faithful submission to Him. May we bring Christ to others, “a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (First Reading, Is. 42: 1-4, 6-7).

The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, listen to Him” (Mk. 9: 7)

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