He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
One of my favorite contemplations from the Spiritual Exercises invites one to “consider that God our Lord beholds me.” God, in God’s infinite compassion, finds someone like me worthy of God’s gaze. As Anthony deMello, S.J. puts it: “Behold God beholding me and smiling.”
Many of us have been blessed with people who have shown us great and undue kindness. Who might you imagine repeating these words to you today — “You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Today is my wife’s birthday, a woman of heroic generosity who has spoken countless words of encouragement to me, to our children, and to our community.
At the start of this new year, I wonder what it might be like for us all to let God find us and whisper those precious words of consolation. And if we have the courage to believe it, as deMello wrote, God might really smile.
—Jordan Skarr works with the Jesuits at the Midwest province office in Chicago, assisting with programming for pastoral ministries.
Loving God, help us to trust we are loved by you, and thus empower us to accept your other sons and daughters, whomever they may be. Amen.