Growing up with three sisters had its advantages . . . the problem is I couldn’t really list any of them then! In hindsight our lives as siblings were pretty good, and I am even more blessed by the relationships I have with my sisters today, but turn the clock back and I may not have responded so glibly. It is in those early relational years with my siblings when I adopted the oft-used phrase: “You’re not the boss of me!” We laugh about it today – we didn’t laugh then!
I believe a big part of life is realizing in fact, who is my boss. This Sunday’s Gospel has a similar dynamic for John the Baptist. He clearly realizes who the boss is, and yet keeps trying to tell him what to do. Jesus, in not so many words, has to say: “You’re not the boss of me!” John doesn’t think his baptism is worthy of Jesus, and Jesus has other plans. John has to let Jesus call the shots and when he does, the heavens open and God declares that all is right and good. (I tell our staff that God would do the same if they would just listen to me more.) Can we allow God to be the boss?
As we begin the semester, we all have grand plans for what we want this semester to be and how we want life to play out. Inevitably, some of that will come to pass and the rest will seem like an odd turn of events – Jesus being baptized by John. Believing in a truth greater than our own understanding and in a God who is the most humble of any boss on the planet, will gain us a peace that will surpass any accolade that could possibly come with the completion of our worldly goals. And at the end of each day, as we reflect back on the day’s events and see the moments where we let God be the boss, we too may hear him say softly to us “This is my beloved son/daughter, with whom I am well pleased.”
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