On the Road to Salvation: Reflections from the Scripture
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased.”
This passage came from one of the 12 ordinary men who was entrusted by Our Lord, Jesus Christ to be one of his apostles; Saint Mark.
Saint Mark was an ordinary man, who became one of the four evangelists who wrote the gospel. This verse describes explicitly a beautiful event which took place during The Son of Man’s baptism. After the baptism of Christ, a voice from heaven announced those words. And after this, Christ was set out into the wilderness for 40 days. Angels and wild animals guided him.
The beauty of this verse
This passage resonates with all of us today. Living in an age of confusion, restlessness, and depression caused by the lack of truth and interior goodness. We can only experience joy in Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Love of Our Father. As we wrestle through each day, fighting fires, seeking happiness in the material world. And painstakingly going through the motions from one demand to another, one worry to another, one frustration to another. We feel as if we are worthless being. We are confused about our being and ‘identity.’ We wonder about the reason behind this ‘miserable life.’ We aimlessly seek to satisfy our hunger with worldly things. In a ‘busy’ world, we seek to please; we ask to impress, we aim for approval, we search for warmth and acceptance; we strive to be loved.
These are all remnants of our ‘human-ness,’ our ‘fallen’ nature, our ‘wounded’ nature. Which we choose to differentiate with ‘humanity’ — the latter used to describe ‘benevolence’ and ‘compassion.’ We define the former as our ‘human frailty.’ The remnants and consequence of ‘original sin,’ it is described as ‘concupiscence’ or man’s natural inclination towards sin.
How His baptism changed everything
Baptism erases the effects of original sin. But the consequence of original sins such as suffering, temptation, sickness, and death, remain after all our sins are forgiven in baptism. It is a reflection of our ‘human-ness.’ But we must not stop at recognizing and affirming the existence of our ‘fallen’ nature.
The beauty of this passage lies in the undeniable and absolute truth reaffirmed and restated in this passage. We are all children of Our Father in Heaven, as we also recognize and recite during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And if Our Lord is Our Father, then our home is in Heaven beside Him.
Dr. Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister who has found a great love for Our Lady and the Catholic Church described us as “Pilgrims on our way home.”
Saint Mark, the author of this verse, according to Christian tradition, joined St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their first missionary journey to Antioch. On the road to Cyprus, he left them and went back home, because he became “homesick.” In this context, we see that even the Apostles, were not immune to the consequences of their fallen nature. After this incidence, St. Paul felt like questioning St. Mark’s commitment and reliability as a missionary. He might have felt discouraged and possibly disappointed.
Come home to Our Father
We feel our own personal ‘homesickness’ in the context of lust, constantly failing, being discouraged. Departing from our nature to love, making our fallen nature as excuses and justifications. But there is a deeper and bigger ‘homesickness’ in our call to come home to Our Father who loves us and who is well pleased with us! Who else are we set out to please than He who loves us the most, and who is proud and glad of us? St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo wrote, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in you.” Both you and I are not unfamiliar with this restlessness to love Him more.
There is a need for a constant interior struggle and spiritual warfare. When we feel discouraged and frustrated, when we have failed, when we have fallen to sin, when we are shameful of what we are and what we have become, let us come back, make a good confession, look up and hear Our Father says, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”