13 January 2008 Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism
Matthew 3, 13-17 The Mundane Life
We mark beginnings with events: initiation rites, commissioning ceremonies, and in faith-life, baptisms. Today, we celebrate Jesus’ inauguration of his public ministry. Jesus is given approval by His Father to begin his work; and therefore, He was baptized for a specific task and mission. In the liturgical life of the Church, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus marks the end of the Christmas Season and begins the Ordinary Time. And thus, those who are baptized, initiated or whose careers were launched begin a ‘new life’ which will take form in the everyday, ordinary, and humdrum times of their lives.
Milestones and special events are spurts in our lives. The bulk of our lives are spent in doing mundane tasks. We wash our clothes. We cook our food. We rush to work. We pour our time on our study tables and books. In the ordinariness and routine of our lives, we operate what we were meant to do. If one begins his work as music director of Musica Chiesa, then his or her ordinary days will be spent arranging music or performing for the church; if one becomes a member of a choir, then his weekends will now be devoted to practice and service at mass. However, it is in these common days that we are molded into who we are meant to be: the daily practice of the musician makes her the performer of the night, the regular workout of the exercise buff gave him the body to die for, the habitual prayer of a person deepens his or her relationship with God.
When Jesus was baptized, His life and lifestyle changed: He would be under public scrutiny; his tasks would now be preaching and healing multitudes; he would organize his companions and later suffer and die. All of these because of one choice: to faithfully do His mission which His Father has given to Him in Baptism.
However, the celebration of Christmas tells us that when Jesus came into the world, everything has been sanctified. Nothing therefore has remained ordinary. Even the most humdrum and uneventful days of our lives are opportunities to experience the Divine. When we were baptized, we have been commissioned by God to make ordinary days extraordinary. To paint the otherwise boring canvass of life. To make life more vivid, bright, vibrant, and colorful. The saints tell us that we are to make the ordinary holy; we are to become “saints of the ordinary”. Mother Teresa said that we can only do ordinary things with great love.