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A Jesuit Catholic University
in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1878
Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

January 12th, 2014
by
Anna Ferguson
Bio | Email: AnneFerguson@creighton.edu

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

As a Catholic, I can say there is nothing more terrifying yet also life-giving than receiving the grace from the Sacrament of Reconciliation that lets you shed all your shame, guilt, secrets, and sins for God’s unending mercy and forgiveness. Each time I enter into this Sacrament it is renewing to say the least, but one time in particular continues to inspire my faith life.

I entered the confessional that day with my heart pounding. I had a lot to get off my chest. Freshman year, fresh start, time to let go of things from home that had been weighing me down. After nervously getting through my list of sins, I waited anxiously for what the priest would say next.

Surprisingly, he made me dig. There are always underlying reasons why we sin, I learned from him, perhaps ways we’d been hurt that made us act the way we did. Not excuses, but reasons why, and if we could get to these reasons, we could learn how to combat sin.

With his help, I did the brunt work of going through what lay behind my sins. It felt like ripping bandages off of old wounds as I explored what was really going on in my heart. What this priest knew, that I didn’t at the time, was that at the bottom of it all I just needed to know that I was good, that I was loved.

Right there, in that confessional, after running through a list of reasons why and how I failed, the priest asked me to simply reflect on the Baptism of the Lord, today’s Gospel, and really place myself in the story.

Imagine Jesus leading you down the bank and into the Jordan river to be baptized with him, the priest said, and then picture yourself coming up from the water to hear God’s voice, “This is my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased.”

What a powerful, yet simple message: I am good. The truth is that we all are, whether we believe it or not. We are good people who sometimes make bad decisions, but we are good nonetheless. As sons and daughters of God, we can all meet Jesus on the bank of the Jordan river, we can all sink deeply into those life-giving waters, shed our failures, and re-emerge knowing we are good, we are loved, and we are God’s.

Most importantly we re-emerge, made new and ready again to pursue the mission God has laid before us. Just as Jesus began his ministry after his baptism, we too are called to share the Gospel message of love and hope with everyone we meet from the moment we are baptized to every relief-filled moment after we leave the confessional. But the Baptism of the Lord goes beyond these Catholic sacraments: It is a message of rebirth and re-missioning for all Christians and every person, whether they know it or not, for we are all deeply loved by God.

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