In pondering today’s reading and gospel, we see that John the Baptist has been called upon to announce that Jesus is the Son of God. Up until this point, Jesus had lived amongst the people, but had not been known as the Son of God. John, in bringing water to baptize Jesus, stated he was doing this so “he might be made known to Israel.”
The ancient sacrament of Baptism persists; in the Catholic tradition, the sacrament of Baptism is typically bestowed upon infants to “welcome them into the Catholic faith and take away original sin.” In thinking about this, I am reminded of my grandmother. She was the most pious person I ever knew growing up, and I went to Catholic school for 12 years! What I remember is she faithfully attended church, said the rosary regularly, went to Confession (although what she said in the Confessional I can’t begin to imagine. She never had so much as a bad thought towards anyone, ever.) To top it off, my grandmother was born on December 25. While most Christmas babies bemoan the loss of a mid-year birthday gift extravaganza, my grandmother felt she received the highest honor being born on this day, and acted accordingly throughout her life.
My grandmother died when my son was five years old. For me, it was one of the greatest gifts in my life that she did get to have this time with him. Grounded in my faith and in her honor, my son was a little over a year old when he was Baptized. My grandmother was too sick to travel to see her great-grandson baptized, but I know she was proud. He was the oldest of all the babies that were there that day, and, after receiving the gift of holy water, my son was presented to the congregation. With perfect timing, he clapped with glee. I recall the members in the church having quite a chuckle in response. Such an innocent, yet profound gesture of the joy we all can experience being welcomed into the Catholic Church and as children of God.
Just as the people of Israel did not know Jesus as the Son of God, today we do not see him, either. We must live in faith and trust in our hearts that when we acknowledge the love of God, “we shall be like him. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.” Every day I do my best to be good to others, to share hope and offer love and support to those in need. With the support of St. John’s, I am committed to raising my son to do good in the world and live his life being grounded in Xaverian values. While Jesus “was revealed to take away sins,” I like to think that by acting in kindness, compassion, understanding, and sometimes forgiveness towards others, I am living in the light of Jesus as a child of God in the way God intended.
—Lisa Schott P'20