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Going Past Our Comfort Zones

First off it has been a strange week.  As I have mentioned in my previous two blogs, The Beginning of a New Journey  and Unexpected Blessings this past week I began my 6 month internship.  It has been a very difficult week as I am just beginning to adjust to this internship. The commute is brutal as I usually spend close to three hrs a day on the road which leaves me severely time deprived.  As a consequence of this deprivation I have not been able to write as regularly as I used to.   It has been frustrating because writing for this blog has been a great joy for me.  I have been so blessed to use this forum as a way of communicating my thoughts, opinions, and reflections of my life.  I have been also privileged to have a regular audience which has allowed me to share my life with them.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog, it means the world to me.  I am asking for you all to remain patient as I seek to adjust to my new life.

Now for the main point of this post...

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.  And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him;  and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."  Matt 3: 13-17

Today marks the official end of the Christmas season with the celebration of the Lord's baptism at the Jordan river. Yesterday when I went to mass I was struck by this passage.  Even though I have read and heard the passage a million times I was struck by the candid frankness of John the Baptist's response. 

First off put your self in John the Baptist's shoes,  he knew he had a mission to "prepare a way" for the Lord.  John knew that once Jesus would begin his ministry his would end.  This type of succession was nothing new in the scriptures, for example Elijah handed down his ministry to his successor Elisha. (To read my post about this click here.) The thing that was so surprising was how it was carried out.  Jesus, instead of baptizing John as would be expected since he was the true king of the universe asked John to baptize him instead.  This incredible request would have contradicted everything that John preached for, as his role was simply to introduce Jesus to the world, not to baptize him.   (cf. John 1: 6-8, 19-28) This act simply made no sense, as John even replied, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

This passage got me thinking about how the Lord in his infinite majesty continually asks us to step outside our comfort zones, to trust him at all times even if it does not make any sense.  Jesus by asking to be baptized by John signified a new type of ministry, which would be guided by humility, not merely through established protocols. Jesus was a new type of king, his mission was to serve and not to be served.  This awesome act of humility helped me to put in perspective the struggles of my present internship.

I like John had different expectations, I expected once I would get married I would be earning money at a full time job, having children, and basically living the responsibilities of my vocation.  But this was not the case for me instead of getting that full time job I received only three part time jobs, instead of having a child, I don't have one yet, instead of being the primary breadwinner of my family, I have to depend on my wife for financial sustenance.  This twisted role reversal simply makes no sense, it contradicts, all human wisdom. Often times I am filled with anger, I find myself asking many times with fists pumped in the air, "Why?"  Through this internship experience it is clear that the Lord wants me instead to trust, to humble myself, and like him to serve others instead of being served.  Still despite this understanding the battle rages on internally for me. I am not comfortable, I don't like accepting things in which I don't have control over. The Lord wants me to decrease as he increases forcing me to go over and beyond my comfort zone. 

Prayer; Lord, help me to trust in you more.  Help me like John to accept my role with obedience and humility.  Help me to trust when the paths laid out for make no sense, to serve when I don't have the strength nor resolve to do so, to empty myself from the deadly intoxication of pride.  Lord help me to decrease as you increase in my life.
Amen.


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