Obedience, the Jesus Path to Freedom for Me, You, and Others … Sunday, January 13

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jo...

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke 3:15-16 & 21-22 is our Gospel reading. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of  the Lord. We see Jesus being baptized, along with many others, by John the Baptizer in the river Jordan. It was a necessary act for those others, those needing to repent. For Jesus it was an act of obedience and also yet another way for Him to take part in our human reality. In all things except sin He was and is like us. It’s a proof of His love for us, His taking part in our part in this universe. He certainly didn’t need to repent of sin. And He didn’t and He doesn’t need to prove His love or anything else. But He does anyway, He gives us proof even though He doesn’t have to. He does this because we are weak and doubting creatures who need the proof. His proving His love for us, to us, is yet another proof of it. And this is the stage that is set for us, the backdrop if you will, as we see Jesus being obedient, being baptized.

Obedience, discipline, self-discipline. All currently unpopular concepts and, given the modern outlook, the equivalent of four letter words. Today, in today’s world and according to the world, living a good life is about none of these. People tend to believe that to live a good life in this modern world means a kind of total freedom. Freedom from any restraint, freedom to do as “I” please. Someone told me once, “As long as your happy. It’s all about being happy.” And they were absolutely wrong. Happiness is a byproduct of obedience, not self-will. Doing my own thing brings consequences that I’d rather not deal with. And that’s because I can’t see the end result of my selfish conduct until its to late. But God can see outcomes which is why its much safer to follow His will than to go running after my own. To be His willing servant, obedient, is to be free. To be a follower my own whims is to end up being a slave to those tendencies that will, once I give them place, rule me without giving any quarter and bring me to my ruin. The horrible truth is that by the time we see this reality its to late, we’re already trapped. You needn’t take my word for it. Just ask any addict. And don’t be fooled. We’re all addicted to self-will. Its called “concupiscence”.

Jesus came to do His Father’s will, not His own. And it was a hard path to walk. Nothing worthwhile is easy. And again, you needn’t take my word for it. Ask any artist. Building something beautiful, a painting, a symphony piece, a life, takes discipline. Jesus knew this and so set an example for us. I know I harp on Jesus being THE example but that’s only because He IS. Being disciplined and not running after the world’s definition of happiness makes a person seem odd at best. More often it makes the person despised as a fool by the world. Not because the person IS a fool but because their good example hurts the calloused consciences of the people around them. A good life lived around the worldly is like a band-aid that’s constantly being jerked off. It always hurts and the bleeding never stops. Its easier to martyr the offender. And that’s one of the reasons we are to live obediently. Maybe they’ll turn around if we keep, by our example and not necessarily by any act directed at them personally, pulling off the bandage. Maybe they’ll stop being cafeteria Catholics, which is just a politically correct term for heretic, and get real with themselves, with others, and with God.

I’m sure some think obedience impossible in today’s world. It’s not. Its hard, true enough. But with God all things are possible. People still take vows of obedience and still keep them. Obedience, with or without vows, is still required of disciples. Jesus was obedient unto death. If that’s what it takes we must be willing. His willingness to die lead to a new life for millions upon millions. Our willingness to die, the blood of martyrs, either by sword or fire or the pin pricks of a long life and natural death in obedience, waters the ground in preparation for a new generation of Christians. The obedience of Christ, our Example, began in eternity, went to the Jordan river, and from there to Calvary. It was a long and arduous walk. But that’s a part of the Good News. We have His footprints to follow.

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Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 4:49 am  Comments Off on Obedience, the Jesus Path to Freedom for Me, You, and Others … Sunday, January 13  
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