Two Sources of Inspiration

Among the millions of Jews imprisoned by the Nazis in the death camps of the '30's & '40's was Victor Frankl. In spite of the horrors and the odds, he survived. Around him, next to him, each day of his ordeal, dozens, hundreds, thousands of fellow-Jews and others died. Most of them died in the ovens, of course, but there were others who died simply because they gave up hope and lost heart, overwhelmed by horror and fear and hopelessness.

Frankl survived, he said, because two forces sustained him: one was the certainty of his wife's love. The other was an inner drive to rewrite the manuscript of a book he had completed after years of labor which the Nazis had destroyed. Frankl's imprisonment was lightened by daily imaginary conversations with his wife and by scrawling notes for his book on all the bits and scraps of paper he could find.

Now Frankl has written eloquently of these two insights to cope with life: first, the discovery and certainty of being loved, and, second, having a clear and controlling purpose in life. Both are the messages we receive in Christian Baptism. Today’s Gospel says, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” The Father affirms son-ship of Jesus. There is certainty of being loved. The Son is ready to take up the mission given by the Father; that is why he is well pleased.

Jesus’ baptism reminds us of our baptism and mission. Through baptism we become God’s children. We are given mission to live as the children of God in thought, word, and action so that our heavenly Father may say to each one of us what he said to Jesus: "You are my beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased.” Being “God’s child” means that we are to let his thoughts direct our thoughts, his mind control our mind, his concerns be our concerns. In the Church, we all share the same intimate connection with Christ; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and so of each other.

Hence, we need to grow daily in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by reading the Word of God, by participating in the Holy Mass, by frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation and by leading a life of compassion, justice, and love, and to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.



In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church