So many people today are looking for the light and warmth of hope and love that can only come from Jesus. On this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the example of Mary “carrying a light” — the Christ Child — is an invitation for each of us to carry into a darkened world the light of faith burning in our hearts and minds.
When Jesus came along and asked some fishermen to drop their nets and follow him, they did just that. Wow! In some ways, they experienced true freedom. That is what Jesus offers all of us. Yet, true freedom looks quite different than my dream scenario.
There is a darkening of intellect and will in today’s world in an effort to twist the truth of freedom and to be self-serving. How are we to respond to the enveloping darkness around us? We need to follow the light of Christ. Our primary identity must lie in belonging to him, and everything else must become secondary.
We cannot get baptized again in the Jordan or Sea of Galilee because of romantic notions, or come into the Catholic Church by a second baptism so we can start all over. Our baptism, whether we can remember it or not, is a one-time deal.
Every major revival of the 20th century involved God attempting to restore His control over the Church in an experiential way, not just in a theological or doctrinal understanding. If the Church is to be the leaven for all people and if we are to see the kingdom of God ever expanding, we can’t trust in ourselves but in the fire and might of the Holy Spirit.
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Though sinless, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism of John the Baptist so that we could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Through our baptismal vows, we commit to share Jesus’ concern for the lost and broken. If Jesus was willing to live a life of service for the poor, we must do the same or we can’t call ourselves his followers.