This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. In Luke’s Gospel, we are told that the heavens opened and a voice was heard saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22) In these words of blessing, we are being told beyond a shadow of a doubt that God our Father looks favorably upon his Son.
What a blessing for a child to hear these words from a parent! Author and speaker Ronald Rolheiser reminds us that the word blessing comes from the Latin benedicere which means to speak well of. He says:
To bless someone is, first of all, to see them, to genuinely see them, to look at them so that they sense that they are truly being recognized and given adequate reality to. Then, and this need not always be put into words but can be present right in that seeing, to bless someone is to take delight in them, to give them the gaze of admiration, to look at them in a way that says: “You are my beloved child, in you I take delight!”
As catechists, we need to bless those we teach, and I’m not just talking about tracing a Sign of the Cross on their foreheads. I am talking about blessing them by communicating in a myriad of ways that we take delight in their presence. We communicate this with our voices, our body language, our words, and our actions. We need to tell young people that we are delighted to be spending time with them, as challenging as they may be!
God’s gaze is always fixed on us and he takes delight in us despite the fact that we are challenging! Out of gratitude, may we turn our gaze on others, especially those often ignored, and express delight in them, that they may experience God’s mercy.