Langisan Mo Akong Muli

so John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And the whole Judean region and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Scripture Reading
Mark 1:4-11 (NRSV)

What does it mean to be anointed? Ito ay pagpahid o paglalagay ng langis.

In the Old Testament, or the Hebrew Testament, kings and priests were anointed to signify that they are moving from one state of being, or one role, to another state of being, or another role. From former life to a new life of duty and responsibility.

Baptism, in the course of history and development of Christian religion, became ritualized. Baptism of water, included afterwards, the anointing of the Chrism oil or the Christ oil. Once baptized, always baptized. Hindi siya nawawala, hindi siya natatanggal.

So, several things, as we ponder 2024 and our lives, in relation to baptism and anointing.

Baptism is, first and foremost, about transformation. Pagpapanibagong-buhay. Pagpapanibagong-anyo. Ang translation na ginagamit minsan ay “repentance” – Pagsisisi ng kasalanang nagawa. But the Greek word that was used is “metanoia.”

Metanoia is much bigger than simply confessing sin. Metanoia is transformation. It is the purging the sins that you did, but also the sins that were done to you.

Transformation is not just sins of your making. Transformation is the totality of your life, including the sins that were done to you. Including mental health. Including trauma. At bakit ko pinapa-contemplate ang mga kasalanang ginawa sa atin? Kasi marami sa mga kasalanan din nating personal ay nagmumula sa mga kasalanang ginawa sa atin.

It’s not becoming perfect. It’s about progress. The goal is not perfection, but the goal is continuous progress, relating to transformation. And sometimes, for some of us, some of you here, especially those who have been here for the longest time, sometimes that transformation happened when you came to MCC. From thinking that you are a mistake, and that God hates you and hates your feelings and Attractions, hates your sexuality and gender – changing to a more affirming and positive faith and perspective. And therefore, a changed life.

For 2024, to renew baptism, and to renew the anointing of the spirit means the intention to also continue our transformation and our progress. As Christians, as individuals, and then of course also as a community. As we continue with 2024, think about how you can transform yourself, your way of thinking, and your way of living. And even your way of praying. To repent and be transformed is to let go of bad attitudes and bad habits of the past. To let go of anger or hatred, kung mayroon man. To do something about things that you need to deal with, or to do things that will heal you and begin to grow you into a better version of yourself.

While there is a human component to this transformation, including the decision and intentionality to do so, we still need to ask God, ask the Holy Spirit for this continuing transformation for 2024. You still need to come to prayer and ask God for God’s transformative power. Especially for all those things that are beyond your scope and are not in your control.

To be baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit means that it is rooted in the spiritual fact that you are a child of God. And that God is pleased with you regardless of what you have done in the past. God is pleased with you by your willingness to approach and seek God out and ask for God’s guidance and help to be transformed.

That includes every human being that has ever lived on this good Earth. Every person is God’s beloved child. Including Palestinians and Israelis. Including blacks, browns, and whites. Everyone is a child of God, both cis-gendered, heterosexual, and every LBGTQIA+ person born. Every person is a child of God, including those who are differently-abled, and those born with debilitating conditions.

As we begin 2024 and hope for better things, and ask God’s transformative power through the Holy Spirit, we do so with our inheritance as God’s children, knowing well na hindi tayo iiwan o pababayaan ng dakilang magulang natin. Bilang individuals at bilang community of Open Table MCC.

If we are God’s children, then we are all sisters, brothers, and siblings. We are each others’ keepers and caretakers. As children of God, we cannot turn or act or say that we do not care for the suffering of our siblings. And equally, we do not care when some of our siblings are doing something bad to other siblings.

The baptism of Jesus is almost always interpreted as the beginning of his ministry. In all four Gospels, ang pagsisimula ng kaniyang ministeryo at misyon ay nagsimula sa baptism going forward. Nagsimula ang misyon ni Hesus sa pagpapahid ng Espiritu Santo sa kaniya, at pagpapaalala na siya ay anak ng Diyos.

We are reminded today to ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Sa Trinitarian doctrine nga, ang palagi daw nakakalimutan ay ‘yong Holy Spirit. Kasi palaging ang prayer format ay “In Jesus name,” o “Father God,” – Minsan palaging nakakalimutan ‘yong Holy Spirit.

So ask. Ask for the Holy Spirit so that you may be transformed, as many times over as you need, or as we need. To be affirmed, to be reminded always that we are a child of God. And trust that God will always care for and journey with God’s children. And as children of God, we are sisters, brothers, and siblings. Like Jesus who saw and experienced the oppression and suffering of his people, we are called and empowered by the same spirit to do good, to care, and to be the answered prayer of one another. A channel of God’s blessing to each other.


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