The Baptism of the Lord
January 10, 2016
R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Ps 104:1b-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
Gospel Lk 3:15-16, 21-22
Homily January 9 & 10, 2016
This weekend we come to the end of the Christmas season with the baptism of Jesus. I was reading The Witness and came across an article from a grandmother reflecting on the baptism of her granddaughter. I share it with a few of my adaptions in the hope it helps you to reflect on your own baptism or perhaps some of your thoughts when you participate in a baptism and see the water being poured and the priest or deacon saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“You have become God’s beloved child—an identity granting you the highest dignity and the greatest beauty. I pray you will claim your identity each day for the rest of your life. I pray you will allow God’s beauty to shine through you in kindness, compassion and love for each person you meet. And I pray you will remember this divine identity, especially when you hear a cutting remark, fall short in love or experience a devastating loss.
I pray you will understand God loves you unconditionally and beyond compare. God has created you, for a special purpose. Never be afraid of God’s calling, for building the kingdom of God is the great adventure of life and God’s grace will surely lead the way.
With the sacrament of baptism, your life will not be your own—you belong to Christ. You will learn that discipleship demands carrying your cross and pouring yourself out for others. In the journey, you will discover that by giving we receive, and by dying to selfishness, we begin to live—really live.
I pray you will put Jesus before all—above all. He must come first because he is the source of all love and light. With his light, all others lights glow brighter. With faith, the world expands as we notice God’s shimmering presence in even the most ordinary.
In baptism, you are called to sainthood. Rely on the Holy Spirit, the source of all wisdom, and you will surely grow in love, mercy and heroic virtue. Be close to those who will bring you closer to Jesus. Stay close to Jesus, especially in times of darkness. Cling to the cross-and the resurrection. Carry hope in your heart. Be willing to forgive. Be humble. Be good. Be true to yourself.
With the sacrament of baptism, we welcome you into the body of Christ. You are never alone. We are all here for you. All the saints in heaven and on earth are praying for you and cheering you onto the finish line.”
1253 The Catholic Catechism has some great articles about baptism too. “Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: ‘What do you ask of God’s Church?’ The response is: ‘Faith!’
1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.
1255 For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized—child or adult—on the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial function. The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism.”
In the second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus we just heard about the grace of God that appeared, “saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age” as we await the return of Jesus Christ at the end of time.
Jesus “saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”. For me that means my most important day was Nov. 17, 1946—the day of my baptism. Hopefully a voice from heaven looked upon us that day of our baptism and said you are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, with you I am well pleased. I also want to hear those words at the end of my life!!