All of us at Pax Christi USA wish Bishop Thomas Gumbleton a very happy birthday!
Bishop Gumbleton has led, inspired and challenged us since the beginning of our movement, as Bishop-President, Teacher of Peace, Ambassador of Peace and so much more. We give thanks today, on his 86th birthday, for all he means to us and to the national Catholic peace movement.
Thank you Bishop Gumbleton, and Happy Birthday!
Keep reading below for a recent column from The Peace Pulpit in NCR…
We are priest, prophets and kings
This feast day, the Baptism of Jesus and the Christmas feast, and we now begin to celebrate the public life of Jesus after we have celebrated the mysteries of his incarnation, his birth, and his early life. As we begin to look upon Jesus in his adult and public life, the first thing that Luke in the Gospel wants us to be aware of is that Jesus is truly the Son of God. Just before the baptism, Luke tells us, “The people were wondering about John’s identity. Could he be the Messiah?”
This is John the Baptist, the one who had been preaching so fervently, drawing so many followers. But then John answered and told the people, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is coming will do much more. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. As for me, I am not worthy to untie his sandal.” What Luke is making very, very clear (and it was important at the time that he was writing) is that Jesus is truly the Messiah and also the Son of God because at the time that Luke was writing, there were those who were still following a cult of John the Baptist.
So Luke wants to make it very clear that John was one who came to announce the good news about the light coming into the world, but was not himself the light. Luke shows us (and is preaching to his community at the time) that Jesus is the Messiah; he is the one we are to follow. John says about himself, “I must become less and less. He must become greater and greater.” The first thing that we reflect on then as we begin to follow the public life of Jesus is that we are following one who is not only one of us, like us in every way except sin, but also the one who is the Messiah, the Son of God.
But also now as we celebrate this Baptism of Jesus, it’s a good occasion for us to remind ourselves about our own baptism and what that means for us. We might think first of all of a cleansing, which it is. But even more importantly, and what comes through in the Scriptures more clearly, especially through St. Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, “When you went down into the water you died and were buried with Christ. You came up out of the water alive with the very spirit of Jesus.” You become a son or daughter of God….