Christ’s baptism: end and beginning

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THE Feast of the Baptism of the Jesus Christ marks the end of the Christmas Season and opens the beginning of the Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar. There are a few things we need to consider to savor the significance of this feast.

One is that Christ’s baptism instituted the sacrament of baptism that would incorporate us into Christ’s mystical body. Such truth of our faith would enable us to share in Christ’s life, in his continuing redemptive work. It gives us the rights and duties, the privileges and responsibilities of a Christian. It should make us realize that our life is not just purely ours anymore, but is rather a shared life, a life with Christ.

It’s important that we always realize this truth about ourselves and about our life if only to make us keenly aware of the role we have to play in that shared life. We often take this truth of our faith for granted and thus also often fail to fulfill our real duties and responsibilities.

Especially now that the Feast of Christ’s baptism also opens the ordinary time of the liturgical calendar, we need to realize that our duties and responsibilities as a Christian need to be lived as consistently as possible in the ordinary flow of daily life, consisting mainly of small and routine tasks and concerns.

We should not be Christians only during big and special occasions. Rather our Christianity is more authentically verified if we live it properly in our daily life. We need to realize more sharply that the ordinary work we do everyday is where we usually encounter God, since our daily work is to do the will of God. It is where we correspond to God’s continuing creation of us, until we conform to his radical will for us to make us his image and likeness and children of his.

This means that our work is not simply ours, but is rather a work with God. In fact, it is first of all the work of God, before it is also our work. It’s important that we be keenly aware of this truth so that we can consciously and freely work in sync as much as possible with God’s will and ways.

We need to spend time to make this truth sink into our consciousness and become an abiding guide in our daily life. If our work does not make us feel at least the presence of God, let alone, get to know his will and ways, then we are not working the way we should work.

In a sense, our work becomes prayer, even if it involves dirt and the so-called “blood, sweat and tears.” Our work is where we engage ourselves with God and enter into the dynamics of love that characterizes our relationship with God and with others.

Indeed, our work can somehow be considered as sacred, because in spite of its mundane character, it is still a work with God and a work of God. This is a truth that we have to appreciate some more and to accordingly act on.

We should disabuse ourselves from the thought that to be sacred and holy would involve us only in activities inside churches or that things should be done in silence and in great solemnity. Sacredness can be had also in the middle of the world, in the hustle and bustle of mundane concerns and businesses. The only crucial thing to remember is that irrespective of where we are, we should always be with God and do things with him and for him!