13 January 2010

The Enthronement of the Messiah

On this day, 13 January, the Carthusian Order, other monastic communities, as well as the Extraordinary Form Mass goers celebrate liturgically the Baptism of the Lord. Below are some brief thoughts about baptism by a Carthusian monk. We have to be careful how we understand this piece: the deliverer of this reflection is by no means trying to suggest that Jesus didn’t know Who He was. It is designed, rather, so that we the reader look at this from a human perspective, that is, the Humanity of Jesus and how His example should be followed. Jesus was at prayer waiting on the Father: so should we be a people of prayer, trusting in God’s time. We have received the Holy Spirit in baptism, and the Father has proclaimed His love for His son/daughter. Sealed with the Holy Spirit, we have a purpose/mission in this life. And certainly, as God’s property, expect the evil one to try and take you away from the Lord. Jesus experienced all of this because His full commitment to humanity demands it, and as Jesus embraced what happens to humanity by taking it upon Himself, He has the divine authority to teach us what to do about it.

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove. And a Voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son; today I have begotten You’” (Luke 3:21-22).

At the inauguration of His public mission, Jesus is in prayer, turned towards the Father, waiting. He has just taken part in the baptism of repentance given by John, which was an invitation to purification and humility: “Those who humble themselves. . .” It is then that the Spirit descends upon Him, and from heaven the Voice of the Father is heard: You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” This verse from the psalm (2:7) signifies the enthronement of the Messiah. Thus the Father manifests to Jesus Who He is, His fundamental identity as Son, and His mission to the people of God as Messiah.

It is in humble prayer that He is given the light to know Who He is, the Son in the presence of the Father, and what the Father wants of Him; and it is in prayer that He receives the power of the Spirit in order to bring His Sonship to fulfillment, in His obedience to the Father.

The adventure has begun. . . Filled with the Holy Spirit, and led by this same Spirit, He is, immediately after, to be tempted by the devil in the desert for forty days. “If You are the Son of God. . . You must make the most of it! Make use of Your spiritual powers in order to satisfy Your hunger, to stun the crowd with marvelous acts, to force Your Father to manifest His love for You.” No!

* Man does not live by bread alone.
* Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.
* Do not put the Lord your God to the test.