The greatest source of suffering in our lives is clinging to our expectations of how things should be, especially when reality is different. Reality and people often burst our expectations. When that happens we either surrender to what is or we fight against it and suffer. Whenever we surrender in faith to what life presents us, we surrender to God, letting him know we acknowledge that we are human beings and He is God Almighty. Surrender is not hopeless resignation; it is an active act of worship recognizing that there are things beyond our control. When we surrender, we shed our claim to control life. In this way we acknowledge God as the Creator of all. Whenever we surrender, we say the ultimate prayer: “thy will be done”, rather than the self-centered prayer: “my will be done with your help Oh Lord”!
Baptism symbolizes surrender. To be immersed in the water is to say to God: “I let go of myself and let you guide me as the Author of life”. Jesus’ entire life is a continuous baptism; a continuous surrender of himself to the Father. His birth is baptism, for though he was in the form of God, he didn’t claim his equality to God, but surrendered Himself in obedience, and became man (Phil. 2); the Word, Jesus, who is God, became flesh (Jn.1:14). But his disposition to surrender Himself in love of the Father and humanity is symbolized in His baptism.
At His baptism, He surrendered His entire being to God, and aligned Himself with humanity. In doing so, He rendered a befitting worship to God the Father through self-giving. Because of His total surrender to the Father from the very beginning, the Father declared Him His Beloved Son, to whom we listen and follow. His is the way of true life and true worship of God. Towards the end of His life, Jesus reminded His disciples that He had one more baptism to go through, His passion and death (Mk. 10:38-40). His surrender to the Father at His baptism in the Jordan continued each day of His life, and reached the peak at His passion and death. When He declared “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30) as He hung on the cross, He was saying there was nothing remaining for Him to surrender to the Father. Through His unreserved obedience to the Father’s will, He rendered the perfect worship to the Father, and through this obedient surrender, humanity was redeemed. Even now, He models the path to true life which entails true worship of God the Father. It is the path of obedience, of surrender! His resurrection is the Father’s vindication and ratification of the path Jesus has modeled for us.
In baptism we surrender our lives to God the Father in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Through baptism, our lives no longer belong to us, but to Jesus Christ, who Himself belongs to God (I Cor. 3:23). To live out our baptism means we live everyday according to the principles of God the Father, revealed in Jesus Christ. Each moment we try to follow God, we surrender our ideas and expectations and allow Him to lead us. Each time we obey God’s will, as revealed in the values of the gospel, we affirm we are disciples of Jesus Christ.
As you know, we worship God when we come to Church. We also worship Him every moment of our lives as we, like Jesus, resolve ourselves to listen and follow God’s designs. Every event in our lives, invites us to surrender. When you get married, you surrender your independence and learn to live interdependently with love and respect; that is what God wants. The same is true of friendships or family relationships or our responsibility at work. These experiences constantly ask us to surrender and worship God in love. When we do so, we are filled with God’s Spirit, and we can love ourselves and others better.
May we meditate on the mystery of our baptism and ask the Lord for the grace to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen