Wellspring Community

Wellspring Landscape 123

ON BEING BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something. 

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

O God, this morning I have come into the quietness and stillness of your presence, to begin the day, so that out of this moment, I may take with me a quiet serenity, which will last me through the rough and smooth of this day’s life. Many hours of the day are waiting to be filled a hundred ways with a hundred prayers. But, right now, at this very moment, I am at peace.
You have blessed and graced my day.

Our meditation today is on being baptized into Christ. St. Paul says, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

Our baptism brings us into solidarity with Christ and with him into solidarity with all people of God as brothers and sisters. We are identified and affirmed as “sons of God” and empowered with the Holy Spirit to live as sons of God and to fulfill the mission entrusted to us. In Baptism we are immersed into the mystery of love, God’s love. We are washed clean, given a clean garment, a lighted candle and anointed priest, prophet and king – all symbolizing our character, an indelible character!!!

You are anointed priest, prophet and king…How awesome!

To be anointed is to be set apart, consecrated…..to be set apart for sacred use in prayer, in sacrifice, in worship, in the service of God….to be separated from other common things used for common purposes.

Dwell on these thoughts for some time!

Anointing with oil, after cleansing/washing, signifies separating, protecting, safe-guarding – separated for and safe-guarded from…….The oil that is used for this anointing is also separated, set aside and not used for any other purpose.

Anointing is also a way of “refreshing and invigorating”, an act of hospitality. One of the reasons for anointing with oil was to trap dirt on the surface of the skin so that it did not get into the pores so it was easier to wash off the dirt….reflect on what this means!

Anointing with oil was also done for healing of wounds. In recent times, many have associated anointing with conferring of power. This idea comes from Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit comes and gives power. To understand it as being empowered does make sense, but to see it as being given power is wrong interpretation.

Reflect on being anointed priest at your baptism as Jesus was……..How does it feel at this time as you reflect on being anointed?

Reflect on being anointed prophet at your baptism as Jesus was……..How does it feel at this time as you reflect on being anointed?

Reflect on being anointed king at your baptism as Jesus was……..How does it feel at this time as you reflect on being anointed?

Being anointed Priest:

Many thoughts and insights come to me as I reflect on being anointed. Thoughts of atonement, sacrifice and oblation, self-sacrifice and total giving and much more. Searching through the Scriptures and reflecting on the priesthood beginning with Aaron, what stands out as the most basic purpose of the priesthood is “sanctification” – the sanctification of the priest himself and the people of God.

Sanctification, could be described (though inadequately) as making of a saint. It is a process of growing and helping others in holiness….to be restored to our dignity, to our true identity.

St. Paul says, to our true citizenship: “You are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God – being built to become a dwelling place for God in the spirit” (Eph.2:19-22)

We are anointed priest, at our baptism, to participate in this process: to facilitate our own growth in holiness and that of others. Our baptismal call is a call to holiness, “You are fellow citizens of the saints…”

This implies a call to ongoing conversion of life. We participate in the priesthood of Christ when we facilitate our own conversion and that of others.

Growth in holiness means forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. All we do for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation for ourselves and others is a participation in the priesthood of Christ.

Growth in holiness means self-sacrifice, self-gift and eventually total giving. The priest of the ancient days sacrificed bulls and goats for atonement. Jesus sacrificed himself for redemption. We participate in his priesthood by our self-gift, by living self-sacrificing lives……

Remember: to be anointed it to be set apart, to be separated, to be safe-guarded, to be protected, to be refreshed, invigorated and to be empowered…….

Pope Benedict in his call for the year of priests underlined the necessary and “indispensable struggle for moral perfection which must dwell in every authentically priestly heart.” This applies to all who share in the priesthood of Christ.

Being anointed Prophet:

Gleaning through the history of the prophets in the Old Testament, we gain a number of insights about who they were, what they did, how and why they were called and what their mission was. This will enable us to understand what our own prophetic calling is.

The prophets of Israel were men who spoke the truth in God’s behalf. They were not scientists or lawyers or philosophers or theologians in the sense that we know today.
They were preachers, proclaimers, heralds. Their aim was to persuade people to act: to change their ways, to turn to God, to turn away from “other” gods, to listen to God, to seek the wisdom of God and so on. They stood before God for their people and before their people for God.

The prophets were voices of the love, the truth, the justice, the peace and the intimate presence of God. They stood for love, truth, justice and peace. Their experience of God was that in God, love and truth and justice and peace had met…had, merged…..and so God’s voice was a voice of love and truth and justice and peace, all in one and one in all…….and the love, truth, justice and peace were unchanging, everlasting, eternal. This is what the prophets were called to proclaim.

  • The prophets were to proclaim the unconditional, unconquerable, everlasting, steadfast love of God.
  • They were to proclaim God’s truth…that he is ever present, unchanging.
  • They were to proclaim God’s justice….God brings us into himself, reconciles us with himself…it’s God’s doing.
  • They were to proclaim God’s peace, Shalom….God brings all things into harmony with himself; God seeks the highest good of his people.
  • They reassured their people of divine compassion, mercy and tender care.
  • They also warned their people of the consequences of choosing evil ways and turning away from God and community.
  • The prophets were other-centered – never centered on themselves. They were at the service of God in their people’s behalf…not for themselves. Personal ambition, desires, or fears were set aside for the sake of the reign of God and the good of the people. The other-centeredness is not separation from others. They were integral part of the community, speaking to the community from within the community.
  • They had a compassionate understanding of their society, an intense, fervent/ardent devotion to their religious tradition, a passionate love for God’s word and an unselfish dedication to others.
  • They were men and women of courage and wisdom, standing up for the “righteousness”, the holiness of God in the form of a cry for justice or forgiveness or healing or truth or peace or reform or renewal or concern for others…never for themselves.

We know today that Prophesy did not die out after the Bible was compiled. We now know that a prophet is not necessarily someone who predicts the future, but someone who is brave enough to speak out loud what is obvious to everyone. But be aware, stating the obvious is prophetic. It can get you into trouble….all the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus too, got into trouble.

We share in the prophetic mission of Jesus and we have reason to be prophetic and there is much to be prophetic about……we must be prophets in our own land and time. We must bring good news to the poor and the oppressed, to the neglected women and children, to the victims of abuse and oppression, to those who carry heavy burdens, to the sick and the suffering, to those who are burdened with war and violence, to the widows and orphans, to the strangers and aliens…..we must proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor as Jesus did!

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Being anointed king:

You are anointed king, with a royal mission…..to live noble lives, to build a just and peaceful world, to bring harmony, to participate in the governance of the universe.

We are God’s people, a “Kingdom People”, a “Royal people” and we have a royal culture and heritage”. We must be faithful to our royal character.

The concerns for peace and justice are in fact primary obligations of kingship (Ps 72). Kingship finds its fulfillment in Jesus. He is the son of David who preaches and ushers in the Kingdom of God. His Lordship will ultimately be acknowledged by all (Phil 2:9-11). He is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24); in Him, all things are created in the heavens and on the earth (Col 1:15-20). And He shows us what it means to be image of God (Col 1:15).

Jesus announced the kingdom of God. His mission was to have God reign in the hearts of all and to have peace and justice in the world. Jesus exercised his royal office by serving. I have come to serve and not be served, He said.

Royal mission is a mission of service with honor, humility and dignity and invincible love.

The heart of the king was centered on the will of the one who anointed him king and on the total well-being of those he is anointed to serve. The heart of Jesus was centered on the will of his father. We are anointed king at our baptism…we are anointed to share in the royal mission of Jesus. We are to center our life on the will of God as Jesus was.

  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means to keep seeking the will of the Father, the will of the king.
  •  To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means living noble lives and being faithful to our royal character.
  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means participation in the building of the kingdom.
  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means healing brokenness.
  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means creating a safe environment where all people can live without fear and suspicion.
  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means working for creating a just society and a world where justice prevails.
  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means Peacemaking and peace keeping.
  • To share in the Royal mission of Jesus means caring for the children, the orphans, the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.

This is my prayer for you today…..

May you continue to be remarkable signs of hope for the world!

May you fearlessly dream, speak, stand and work for justice and peace!

May you make no peace with oppression, injustice, violence or war!

May you strive to be shining witnesses of reconciliation, harmony and peace!

May you reach across boundaries and barriers to form community with all people!

And may God who has loved you without measure fill you with blessings and grace and the experience of the joyful communion of the saints of God……..

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs