Reflection on the Daily Readings for 10/22/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture:  Lectionary # 476. Romans 6:19-23. Psalm 1:1- Luke

Paul is leading us to a reflection on baptism which immerses us with Christ
into his suffering, death, and resurrection.  It is the sacrament that
initiates the beginning of our journey and the unfolding of it in the light
of our Christian commitment to faith in Jesus Christ crucified and
resurrected.  Jesus speaks of his baptism but in the light of the actual
journey to Jerusalem and then the ensuing days of his suffering, death, and
resurrection. He has a baptism with which he must be baptized meaning the
actual conforming of his will to that of God. His total gift to us is seen
in the last days of his life after having completed the long journey that
Luke is still describing in his Gospel.

We are led by Luke to have already thought about the role of Jesus in the
lives of people both those who accept him and those who do not.  Luke takes
us back to the event of his presentation in the Temple forty days after his
birth.  His mother and Joseph his foster father have pariticpated in the
ritual of purification according to Luke (despite the differences that we
know were not narrated by Luke).  Simeon has had the child within his arms
and now turns to Mary, the mother of Jesus and says, "This child is
destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign
opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed--and a sword of
sorrow wille pierce your own soul tool." (Luke 2:34-35).

The scene that we hear today is happening some thirty years after what
Simeon has predicted and Jesus is speaking of its fulfillment thorugh what
his "baptism" will entail.  Many have already been scandalized by his
preaching and teaching; his own disicples will abandon him, fall asleep
while he prays, betray him, and curse him.  Mary, however, remains his
faithful follower and his mother throughout all of this suffering and is
present as he dies upon the cross.  She, undoubtedly, knew by experience
what Paul was talking about some twenty-five to thirty years later and
understood it in the light of Paul's last words for today: "The gift of God
is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23).  Amen.