Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
January 9, 2021
© Wirestock
MARK 1:7-11
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
By Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
There comes a time in a person’s life when they must make a decision about the meaning and purpose of their life. Many complain they don’t face this issue soon enough. Sometimes, as if out of nowhere, the question suddenly emerges: “Why am I here? What is my calling?” “Do I have a purpose?” For many, the questioning of one’s purpose is a crisis of life-altering proportions. 
All four Gospels wrestle one way or another with the Baptism of Jesus which marks the conclusion of the Christmas Season. Apart from the dogmatic, pious, and spiritual development, the baptism of Jesus was a crisis moment for Jesus. “Crisis” means a time of opportunity, the realization my life is more significant than I might have otherwise thought. 
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord invites us to pause as we reconsider the purpose and the meaning of life in relationship to the peoples of the World. The Spirit of God, by which the World was created, now descends upon Jesus as he plunges into the waters of the River.
The Gospel of Mark starts with the fiery proclamations of John the Baptizer (Mark 1: 7-11). Mark spends no time with birth scenes or ancient prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark has an “in your face” aspect to it. There is a sense of urgency. Jesus, without any stated reason, suddenly submits to the baptism of John. Jesus goes down into the cleansing waters as if seized by some spirit greater than himself. As the heavens split, the Divine Voice declares Jesus to be the “Beloved” whose message must be heard. He and the World will never be the same.
The historical reconstruction situates this momentous moment in the life of Jesus at age thirty. It is simply amazing how many great people of history discovered the meaning and purpose of their lives at that age. By our standards, Jesus would still be remarkably young. By his standards, it may not have been a time to start over. Perhaps he mastered being the day laborer of his time. His later parables survey the trades of his time. He knew something about fishing, farming, finance, cooking, and construction. While life was difficult, there was no reason to cause any more trouble. Work, eat, survive, and stay out of trouble. What drove him to the water’s edge?
If God created the World, then Jesus, as Son of God, becomes one with the World. In his baptism, Jesus becomes one with the blood, sweat, and tears of all humanity. He will have nothing to say before he experiences the plights and hardships of life. As the “Beloved of God,” he becomes one with God in his solidarity with all that is. 
We are all the “Beloved of God” who have been gifted with the presence of Jesus living in our lives. Every day his risen presence is manifested in the goodwill of those who bring hope and love to the World as it is.
On those days, when I feel more afflicted than blessed, I must remember I am the Beloved of God. I am baptized into the World with all its joys and hurts in those difficult moments of life. May I always have the courage to bless. 
Thank you, “Beloved of God,” for immersing yourselves in the waters of life. May you continue to be a source of love, compassion, and respect to everyone you meet.