God’s Beloved

BY ED SLOANE | January 10, 2022
Sunday’s Readings

The new year is a time for resolutions, commitments to a new way of being in the world. Over the last few weeks, my social media has been full of posts in which friends share their commitments to exercising more, eating healthier, picking up a new hobby, or spending more time with family and less time at work. This Sunday we celebrated The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. As I reflected on this Feast and Sunday’s readings, I thought about my own baptism and the ways in which I struggle to live out that commitment to Christian discipleship. Baptism is itself a sort of resolution—a commitment to living differently in the world. In this Sunday’s readings and on this Feast Day, I found an opportunity and invitation to resolve to renew my baptismal vocation as priest, prophet, and leader. In other words, my promise to be a source of holiness, justice, and inspiration as a member of the body of Christ.

God's Beloved

As I have gotten older, my relationship to the Church has gotten more complex, and I often struggle to locate my faith within the institutional Church. At the same time, my baptism reminds me that the Church is the people of God. I remember the youth minister who taught me that this is my Church too and helped me discover my vocation to ministry. By her care for each young person, she taught me that in the Gospel Jesus prioritized inclusion above all else. I recall the Jesuit I knew who called everyone “saint,” reminding each person of their intrinsic holiness. I am inspired by lay groups in my home state who tried to hold our diocese accountable in the wake of revelations of sexual abuse and financial mismanagement by our bishop. I think of the Catholic Workers I am blessed to know who live quiet lives of solidarity tending to the cries of the poor and creation. I am encouraged by the house church communities that helped me and others find camaraderie and a sense of Christ’s presence. Our vocation to be the Church happens in these ordinary acts of ministry and community. Through my griefs and in my joys, in my hopes and my struggles, these memories draw me back to God’s words in the Gospel, “my beloved…with you I am well pleased.” Indeed, the vocation to be priest, prophet, and leader is nothing more than to know ourselves as God’s beloved and to illuminate that belovedness for one another.

3 replies
  1. Carl M Shy
    Carl M Shy says:

    Yes, we are the people of God, including the pope, bishops and all the faithful. According to Vatican II, the Holy Spirit imbues “the sense of the faith” in all people of God to teach, preach, and evangelize the Good News of the gospel. We are calle upon to participate in developing Church’s doctrines and morals. Since Vatican II, the hierarchy has not widely consulted the people of God in responding to the Signs of the Times. Now, Pope Francis is inviting us to speak our minds and express what changes we would like to see in the overall structure and practices of the Church. Let us accepot the invitation.

  2. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    “My beloved…with you I am well pleased” – says a lot. Thanks Ed Sloane for the fine reflection.

  3. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Ed makes some excellent points about the complexity of life. Again, he calls us to think about our Baptism which surely grounds us in our faith. This week we had the Conference of the Cathedrals in which some excellent prayer and conversation (a type of Prayer) resonated through the buildings. As an evangelizer, I truly believe that all of us need to share our hopes and dreams with each other about our faith life and the future of the Church. It is an awesomely hopefilled time when the next generation looks to us for guidance and possibility. this conference gave us that hope with the presenters and people listening. The sincerety and hope of Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Tobin helped us to realize that God does not abandon us -He lets us into His compassionate heart and wants us to share that goodness and hope with others.Like Ed I was awefully affected by the sexual scandal as I reviewed a great deal of the literature in that regard. I was glad that with the conference we exchanged those graces that put is in a place of hope, belief and love.


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