Today, we celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel reading today tells about Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. When John the Baptist was questioned if he, himself, was Christ, he responded “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John did not know that the Messiah would walk with normal people, and he would end up baptizing Jesus. Most people, before Jesus was born, thought a proud and pretentious savior was coming to defeat all of their enemies and conquer all lands. They did not know that Jesus would come spreading love and peace. This also connects to the first reading that states, “a bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.” These readings show that Jesus’ message is to spread love and peace. This is a very important message that needs to resonate with people today especially. The world is in such a difficult time; there is a lot of hate through social media and the country is so divided. It is our duty to continue to spread Jesus’ message of love and peace to the world today.
Last week, I was fortunate to go on a retreat in preparation for my service immersion trip in June. I am going on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Fort Collins, Colorado, and I met my other group members on the retreat. During the retreat, we reflected on what service means to us and what we hope to get out of the trip. We learned more about each other and thought of ideas to fundraise for our trip. Retreatants also went to volunteer at a couple of different places in the area. My group was fortunate to go to Family Promise in Our Lady of Charity Church in Brookhaven, which helps house local homeless families who need a place to stay. Family Promise also has a thrift store that runs off of donations, and the profits go to the organization. We worked in the thrift store organizing donations and sorting clothes. I do not have much experience when it comes to service, but I am trying to do more service here at Neumann. Doing service has taught me that it is a great way to give back to the community. I have also learned that service is not just doing work for others, but it is very meaningful, and it creates a bond between you and the people you serve with. It is also a way that we can work to spread Jesus’ message of love and peace today. I am looking forward to doing more service at Neumann, and I cannot wait for my Habitat trip to Colorado in June!