Today’s Thoughts: Today we bring the season of Christmas to a close with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. As I prayed with the Gospel today, I found myself focusing on God proclaiming Jesus as beloved. In growing up I was a middle child, not a true middle child because I only had an older sister and younger brother and supposedly you need two older and two younger siblings to be a true middle child. However, I have proclaimed myself a middle child. I never got any attention! I was neglected! Mom and Dad always like them best. – Not really!
For most of my childhood I sought the attention of my parents and I guess I was not really good in sharing it with my sister and brother. I was also a "pleaser." I wanted everything to be affirmed by my parents, I didn't want to do anything that displeased them, believe me it was an impossible task.
Now my parents were not the most demonstrative people in the world. They had grown up through the Great Depression, World War II and where serious people. Sure, they could have fun and enjoy themselves, but they certainly did not gush over anyone or anything. My father worked long hours at times and my mother was a stay at home mom. It was not until I went to high school that we got a second car.
My parents were busy about many things, work, their faith, their family and could not always be present at the things we, the children, were involved in. They rarely came to my baseball games, my swimming meets, my basketball games. I was in one play during high school and they didn't make any of the performances. I ran cross-country and track my junior and senior year, but they never saw me run. At the time it seemed like a big deal to me, I wondered if I was really a good son? If they really loved me?
Now let me say my parents were great people, the best parents and they loved me very much but as we all know parents seems so "dumb" when we are in our teens, but they get very smart when we get to our 20's. As I look back now my parents were always present at the most significant moments of my life. They were always there at times when it really mattered.
I have two images that will always stay with me. One of my father at my profession of vows. He sat with my mother in one of the first two pews and a friend took a picture of him as I was professing my vows, the look on his face was priceless and you can even see a few tears running down his face. If I could have heard his heart at that moment I am sure I would have heard, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am pleased!" My father died four months after I took my vows.
The second image is of my mother at my ordination. The day before my ordination as my mother was traveling to New York, she fell and broke her arm. My brother took her to the hospital and the doctor suggested that she have surgery. As my brother tells it, my mother said, "No way, just set it, my son is being ordained tomorrow and I have to be there!" The doctor set her arm and by the afternoon she continued on her way to New York. She was in a lot of pain for the next week or so, but she was there. In her presence that day I heard the words, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am pleased!"
We all have these moments when our parent’s presence speaks volumes to us, when their presence proclaims us as beloved daughters and sons. That is what we celebrate on this Monday honoring the Baptism of the Lord. Today we remember that important moment when the Father and the Spirit needed to be there for Jesus. This moment sends Jesus on his way. This moment sends Jesus into his ministry. This moment sends Jesus to the Cross and the Resurrection.
It is a moment that gets played our over and over again in our important moments of faith through our parents, families, friends and faith community, God proclaims us as beloved daughters and sons. Moments like Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, any sacramental moment in our life. God claims us as a daughter or son who is beloved and sends us on our way.
Let us pray for our mothers, our fathers, our families, our friends and to our God today so that when we next receive communion we might hear those words in our heart, "You are my beloved daughter, you are my beloved son, I am so profoundly pleased!"
Have a blessed Monday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...