Scripture: Lectionary 191. Isaiah 54:1-10. Psalm 30:2.4.5-6.11-12.13. Luke

Today's Readings

What is God's plan in your life? This is the thought question that Luke
the Evangelist poses for us at the end of our pericope for today. He has
given us the scene of Jesus asking the Pharisees and the scribes (lawyers)
about the identity and origin of John and his baptism ritual for
forgiveness. They by refusing to listen to the Baptist and refusing to be
dipped into the Jordan River for his form of baptism fail to see God's plan
in their lives. John was making it exceeding clear what is expected of
those who came to hear him or to see what he was doing. He called for a
metanoia or change of mind and habit and attitude among those interested in
entering the kingdom of God. Renewal and repentance were the hallmarks of
John's prophetic preaching in order to prepare them for the coming of the
reign of God and the Messiah.

We too need to hear his voice and carry out these preliminaries if we want
to discover the Messiah and the reign of God. Scripture is the living
voice of the Lord for us and by doing what it says we are then doing the
will of God and entering into the plan of God. We are called to do more
than the ordinary but that is where we start and begin each day. Then we
take up the sensitivity and purpose of our working with others and treating
them as members of the Body of Christ or followers of God. John the
Baptist points us to the Messiah, Jesus, and Jesus tells us to take a good
look at what John was calling us to do. Jesus is taking center stage now
in the Gospels for John is in prison and soon will be beheaded by Antipas,
the son of Herod the Great.

Jesus will go further in telling us we need to be baptized with the baptism
of the Spirit--a fire of power, inspiration, and dedication. This baptism
today is the sacrament we all receive as Christians. It is done in the name
of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with water and the words of the
sacrament. It is effective in remitting our sins and getting us started on
the road that leads to the plan of God for us. Jesus himself gives us the
formula and sign in the last few verses of Matthew's Gospel: Matthew

God then takes over in us. We are not in control now but under the
direction of God while using our reason and continuing the virtues of the
Spirit given to us when we were baptized. God himself consoles us through
the words of Isaiah, "My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of
peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you." (Isaiah 54:10). Our
prayer for today is the responsorial verse of Psalm 30: " I will praise
you, Lord, for you have rescued me." Amen.