Healing of My Heart

The Baptism of the Lord

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
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.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”


A drizzly day in May I turned off the television, put on my Chuck Taylor All Star low tops, and went for my first ever run. It was pathetic. I spent most of it walking and gasping for breath, but the next day I did it again and the next day I did it again. I had had enough of being fat and out of shape and I was in the perfect spot to do something about it. Over that summer I ran at least five times a week, I was careful about what I ate, and by mid-terms the next Fall I had lost almost 50 pounds.

For the first time in my life I looked good. For the first time in my life guys noticed me, bought me drinks, asked for my number, flirted with me, tried to win my attention. It felt powerful to feel so desirable but inside I still felt like the ugly, fat girl. I would seek comfort in food, throw it all up, and flirt with boys to feel pretty. I was a tease, and I had an eating disorder. I looked good, but I wasn’t in a good place.

What I really needed was to understand my identity, to know that God the Father lovingly says over me, “This is my beloved Daughter, with whom I am well pleased.” It was what I wanted, too, but I didn’t know it. It is not surprising to me that the healing of my heart, mind, and body came as I grew in my faith and love of God, as I came to understand that with Baptism we become adopted children of God.

When I read the story of Jesus’ Baptism I cannot help but get a little misty-eyed. As Jesus models the very Sacrament by which we will enter into a profound relationship with the Trinity, I hear the love, worth, and affirmation I sought for so long in the Father’s words to His Son. And I know that those words can be for all of us.

Do you understand your identity in God’s eyes? Are you being fair to yourself? Too soft or too harsh? Ask Him.

Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker and homemaker. She lives with her husband and six children in central Illinois. You can find out more about her here.

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