My column from this weekend’s bulletin:

I used to lay in bed, when I was little, and pray for missionaries. I had this picture of them living in shacks, surrounded by knife-wielding savages.

It wasn’t until I read Story of a Soul, the autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux, that I considered the call to missionary work that each of us receives at our baptism.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, in paragraph 1213, that baptism is “the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.”

That definition challenges my childhood picture of missionaries, doesn’t it?

It is through baptism that we “are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God.”

So why, exactly, did Jesus get baptized?  Not only was He already the Son of God, but he didn’t have any sins to be freed from.

That’s the beauty of it.  Just as Mary said “Yes,” over and over, to God’s will, Jesus also said “Yes,” over and over, to God’s will.  By humbling Himself to baptism, which He didn’t need,  He gives me a lesson in humility, in remembering my place at His feet.

I didn’t feel a big bolt of lightening at my baptism, but I did feel a lump in my throat as I held my daughters at each of their baptisms.  I haven’t felt called to travel to Africa to evangelize, but I do live my faith, flawed and struggling, every day for the people who meet me.

How can Jesus’ baptism inspire you this week?  How can it challenge your approach to faith?