January 11, 2015 - Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

posted Jan 8, 2015, 11:00 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:31 PM ]

Gospel of Mark 1: 7-11

Tine's Reflection

When reading the gospel for this weekend, a line that stood out to me was "On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.” As he came up from the water, he was filled with faith in God and himself. It is as though His path in life became clear to him once he was baptized. In a single moment, everything changed for the better. In my own life, going on my first St. Anne's Confirmation Retreat was what changed everything. That first retreat brought clarity to my life like Jesus' baptism did for His own life.

Growing up, I went to church every Sunday with my family. I was baptized at St. Anne's, and completed my First Communion and Confirmation at Holy Spirit. I sang in the St. Anne's Youth Choir from 5th grade till I was a senior in high school. I was doing all of this, but didn't feel connected to my faith. I believed in God and I had faith, but it wasn't strong within me.

When I moved away and went to college, I very rarely went to mass. I prayed on my own and knew He was there for me, but I wasn't actively pursuing my faith. I spent a lot of time on the beach, reading my books for my classes. I also spent more time singing with my a capella choir and dancing Filipino folk dances with the organization I had joined. I was so busy living my life that I can honestly say a part of me forgot about Him.

When I moved back home, I joined the Young Adults Choir because I wanted to keep singing. Since I had sung with the Youth Choir, it felt right to join YAC. This time around, singing felt different. What began as another club or organization I wanted to join changed into something more. I started paying more attention to the music and how it related to the readings of the weekend. I started picking up on the lessons being taught through the life of Jesus. I began looking up bible verses and trying to know more about my faith.

My involvement with YAC led me to join Confirmation as an additional member of staff during retreat. During my first retreat at Mission Springs, I feel like I had a moment when everything in my life and faith became clear to me. It happened as we were sharing brown bags. I sat there, learning so much about the students while learning so much about me. I saw how easily they opened up and reflected on their faith journey and I realized I needed to do more, serve others more, and spread the life and work of Jesus to help those around me. I became so emotional during brown bag because it was as though at that moment, Jesus revealed Himself to me though the stories of those around me. I saw God in my small group.

I knew that I had to do more. I knew I had to pursue my faith journey with more passion and energy. I became YAC's co-choir director and joined the confirmation teaching staff. Whenever I plan a class or pick music for mass, I try and remember how one retreat changed everything in my own faith journey. I often tell my small group that it is never too late to find your faith. I had faith my whole entire life, but I felt like I really found it when I was sitting on that carpet in Mission Springs. Going on my first retreat changed my life. It was as though I was being baptized again and feeling God's love surround me.

Jerico's Reflection

“I baptize you with water, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”

When I read this line, I think of ministry and how it keeps going from generation to generation. The best way I can explain it is like this:

We all are called to do great things. Sometimes it takes a situation or another person for us to realize our potential and to realize that we each are called to serve. We answer the call because those around us inspire us. We each are called to inspire others to see their potential and so on and so on.

I remember when I first started to get involved at St Anne. It was all because of an invitation. I was touched by how genuine and sincere it was and how loving a group of people could be. It was contagious! I wanted to be a part of what was going on. It felt like such a rush that I couldn’t help but be a part of what was going on.

I was afraid at first because it was all new to me. It wasn’t something that most people wanted to get involved with. The invitation was like the water ready to baptize me and the feeling I got afterwards was like the holy spirit coming coming into my life.

I never knew that church and ministry would become such a big part of my life. It was like God had a plan all laid out for me. Everything was ready to go.

This is my way of giving back, by giving to others. I baptize people with water, but the feeling they get afterwards is like no other. They get baptized with the holy spirit. Its just like how I felt when someone reached out to me.

Each of us are called love one another. And with that love we invite others around us to share the same feeling with those in our lives.

Erin's Reflection

I left Emmaus to go to college and do college things: meet new friends, go to class, study for never-ending midterms, intern for other youth programs, go to dance practices until very very late at night, and try to fit a social life in-between it all. I tried to attend mass every Sunday, but it was definitely not the same and staying on this faith journey was getting harder and harder than I thought. Change was difficult and being away from my friends, family, and St. Anne made me homesick. In retrospect, I really did enjoy my time at UC Davis, but I knew that I'd be happier to finally graduate and come back home and focus on my relationship with God.

When I moved back home, I started grad school at CSU East Bay. But even though I was inundated with 1000000x more schoolwork, I tried to make more of a conscious effort to attend mass and pray by writing in a daily gratitude journal. I realized that it wasn't that I never had time to go to church and pray, I just never made time for it. I knew that God was there, I just had to keep taking more steps to find him.

I was invited to become a Confirmation teacher this year, and I like to think that Jim and the rest of the Confirmation staff is my John the Baptist. They were the ones who baptized me, washed my sins and guilt (from moving away from God) away by welcoming me into the group and making me feel more connected with the church and God again. I was renewed, strengthened, and healed by all the people surrounding me and ultimately felt God baptizing me with the Holy Spirit.

In lieu of our Confirmation retreat, this was an example of Praying it Forward. The staff made me feel welcome, and I want to continue praying/paying it forward by making others feel welcome in our community. Someday I hope to be a John the Baptist in someone else's life.