This winter the river was not yet frozen over by mid-December. Today as we celebrate the baptism of Jesus, flowing waters of grace are on my mind. We read in the The Gospel of Luke that John was baptizing people with water, but one who is more powerful was coming. Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and fire. When Jesus is baptized, he prays, the heavens open, and the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven is heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Through our baptism, we are all named priest, prophet, and king. With these roles come a certain responsibility. Last night at the federal prison after we had celebrated mass, I had the opportunity to talk with an inmate who took the role of prophet seriously. I had not seen him in over a year. It turns out that he has begun to evangelize his peers, as well as some of the staff. This behavior led him to being beat up by some of the other inmates and hospitalized for a brief time. Between my illness and his situation our paths had not crossed. I listened to him tell his story about what had been going on with him in the months that I had not seen him and then he asked how I was. I told him about my illness and he expressed concern for me. At one point, he looked at the clock and said that in the five minutes that were left that he would like to pray for me. I agreed.
I believe that Grace appears when it should, unexpectedly and just at the right moment. Sometimes the grace-bearer is not what we envision. God can have a great sense of humor. There I was in the prison chapel being ministered to instead of being the one ministering. The inmate apologize to me that he could not lay hands on me because he knew that physical contact is frowned upon and so he bowed his head and expressed a beautiful prayer for my healing. I was deeply moved by his prayer and his compassion. I believe that God was well pleased with his son last night. Keep an eye out for the Grace that flows from Living Waters. You just never know when or how it will appear.
How seriously do you take the roles given to you by your baptism of priest, prophet, and king?
How has Grace appeared to you in the past?
Mat the Grace that flows from Living Waters pour out over us and bless us in our roles as priest, prophet, and King. May we be open to the graces that You wish us to receive, no matter how unexpectedly they arrive and no matter who delivers them. Amen.