Today as we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, we are reintroduced to Jesus Christ. Each of the Gospels introduces us to Jesus at a different point in his life. His Baptism is acknowledged as the beginning of His public ministry, but where was he for the previous 30 years? We catch a glimpse of Him in Luke’s Gospel at age twelve when he goes to the Temple “according to custom”. Where is He the rest of the time? We can suppose He is learning the trade of carpenter under the tutelage of Joseph. These “hidden years” have been the subject of much speculation through the centuries.
The Gospel of Jesus’ Baptism causes me to think on the things I have done in my “hidden years”. Do I remain in hiding or do I take the Gospel lessons I have learned, and continue to learn, and share them with those I encounter by word and deed? Reading on in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus went into the desert for forty days and nights to prepare Himself for His ministry. We can speculate the difficulty of this time away from family, friends, and the security of all He has known in order to prepare Himself for the challenges He will encounter in His public life.
I ask myself, am I taking the time to prepare myself to share what I have learned? Do I take time in prayer each day and spend time studying the Gospel message to share it with those around me? I am guilty of not doing all I need to in order to do what my own baptism calls me to do. In this new year, I will do my best to continue to prepare myself for the mission He has called me to, just as He came out of His own hidden life to reveal the Truth to us all. I pray you will have the strength and courage to do the same.