And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Our baptismal fonts and holy water stoups still lay barren during the Pandemic. On January 10, the close of the Christmas season, we hear proclaimed the Gospel about the Baptism of the Lord. Such an incongruity for the people of God.
We think of water as essential to our daily living and we know that the water of Baptism is essential to our life in Christ. Water represents the fullness of life that God promises. In understanding the gift of Baptism, we must recognize that God’s ways are beyond our comprehension. The water of Baptism nourishes the seeds of God’s love within us as we are attentive to Him and participate in bringing forth His kingdom on earth.
Pope Francis says, “We rediscover our own Baptism in the Feast of the Baptism. Just as Jesus is the Beloved Son of the Father, we too, reborn by water and the Holy Spirit, know we are loved children — the Father loves us all! —, the object of God’s satisfaction, brothers and sisters of many brothers and sisters, assigned with a great mission to bear witness and proclaim the Father’s boundless love to all mankind.”
Yet, we recall Jesus on the Cross crying out, “I thirst.” For whom was He thirsting? Would a drink of water have satisfied Him? He was crying out for us. He was crying out for our attentiveness to God – not just at that moment, but throughout all ages – yesterday, today, and forever. He was crying out for you and me to remind us of our Baptism and the Covenant we made that glorious day to live through, with and in Him.
John the Baptist tried to prepare hearts for the coming of God’s Kingdom. Jesus, while He may not have needed the ‘conversion’ brought forth by Baptism, humbled Himself to show us the importance of His unity with the Father. In the water, Jesus becomes what John the Baptist has being talking about: the Dawn of the Kingdom of God. The voice from the heavens acknowledges the wondrous love of God, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” Jesus is the path of this wondrous love and the sealer of the Covenant between us and God.
Pope Francis said, “This simple phrase enables us to intuit something of the mystery of Jesus and of His heart, always turned to the Father.” We have just celebrated the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Are we attentive to God, as Jesus came to help us understand? Think of these days and how you have lived your true conversion to God. Is your daily living one of all prayer, from the moment you rise to the close of night? Do you pray with your family? Do you converse well with your brothers and sisters, parents, friends? Even though we may not see each other as often as we would like, God has given us the gift of technology to make phone calls, post to Facebook, or skype each other. Do you care for others by wearing your mask in public? In the season of Christmas as gift giving is so appropriate, did you remember those who are suffering? Have you shared some of your treasures with others? Do you patiently teach your children how to follow Jesus? Do you work for the common good and renounce personal gain?
In His Baptism, Jesus immerses His body to join each one of us and calls for us to be holy. May we live as His holy people, that we may be called beloved.