Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.<br>
As I studied the Scripture about the Baptism of Jesus, I found something interesting: there is a difference between what God says at Jesus’ Baptism and at the Transfiguration.
In the Gospel writer’s account of the Transfiguration, God says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He is addressing those present, not only Peter, James and John, but quite likely Moses and Elijah as well.
In the Gospels of Mark, which we’ll hear this weekend, and in Luke, God’s words are different. God says “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” God’s words here are addressed to Jesus. (Matthew’s account of the Baptism begins with “This is my beloved Son.” I don’t know why, I”ll try to remember to ask him someday.)
And while the two sound a lot alike, the words heard at Jesus’ Baptism have a different essence to them. Not only were they spoken to Jesus, and not the others, but the word “pleased” can take on another meaning.
The Greek word for pleased (εὐδοκέω) does mean to think well of something, but can also mean to choose, to be chosen. I have no doubt that God was also pleased with John the Baptist, but Jesus’ Baptism was different, and his calling was different. He is well pleasing because he is the one who is God’s chosen.
At our Baptism, we were adopted into God’s family. At our Baptism, God spoke the same words over us, “You are my beloved Son or Daughter, with you I am well pleased.” Not only is he thrilled about our joining HIs family, we are among his chosen ones, although, thankfully Jesus is the one chosen to be the redeemer. (See Colossians 1:15-23)
How do we stay pleasing to God? We continue in the faith, stable and steadfast. (Colossians 1:21-23) We please God when we do what Jesus did. Everything, every thing that Jesus did, he did to please the Father; he desired to do Father’s will.
Is God pleased when people are helped? Is God pleased when people are healed and delivered from bondage? Is God pleased when people's needs are met? Is God pleased when someone’s sins are forgiven? Is God pleased when people know how much He loves them?
Lectio the Liturgy: If you’re looking for a small way to change your life in a big way, ask yourself this question at various times of the day: Is what I am doing right now pleasing to the Father? If you feel like you might not measure up, this quote from Augustine of Hippo is for you, “The dove is not for sale; it is given gratis. Hence it is called grace.”