January 12, 2020

Jesus' Baptism

January 12, 2020:  Baptism of the Lord

See 15 connections with today?
Legend below
Carolyn's hymns for Jesus' baptism
Pope Francis

Homily:  When John asked Jesus why he was coming to him for baptism, he said, “Let it be; it's fitting to fulfill all justice.”  Baptizing a child is an act of justice; it gives the child a treasure and a pledge:  the Holy Spirit.  It's important to baptize children so they grow up with the Spirit's power.  Take care they grow up with the Spirit's light and power, through catechesis, assistance, teaching, and your example.

Don't worry if your children make a fuss during the ceremony; it's their first time in the Sistine Chapel.  If they cry, try to make them comfortable, but don’t worry if they don't stop.  Children are choral; if one makes noise, all join in.  When a child cries in church, it’s a beautiful homily.  You bear the Holy Spirit within the children.

Angelus:  Pray for children I just baptized and their families.  Matthew describes the dialogue between Jesus, asking for baptism, and John, who's surprised because he knows the Messiah doesn't need purification.   But God's ways aren't ours, and Jesus is God’s Way, unpredictable.  If Jesus, who came to bridge the distance between us and God, is on God’s side, he's also on ours.  That's why he tells John, “Allow it; it's fitting to fulfill all righteousness,” fulfilling the Father’s plan by way of obedience and solidarity with frail, sinful humanity; it's the path of humility and God's closeness to his children.

Jesus fulfills his mission with a style contrary to the spirit of the world:  it's the attitude of the meek.  With his humility, Jesus teaches the simplicity, respect, moderation, and hiddenness we need.  Those who boast about being the Lord's disciples aren't good disciples; good disciples are humble, doing good without making a show of it.  We're called to meet others and propose, not impose, giving testimony, sharing real life.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, heaven opened, the Spirit descended on him, and a voice from on high resounded, “This is my beloved Son....”  In today's feast, we rediscover our own Baptism. 
As Jesus is the Father’s beloved Son, we, reborn by water and the Spirit, know we're the Father's beloved children, entrusted with a mission to witness and proclaim his love to all.  If you don't know when you were baptized, find out, and celebrate the date every year; it's a duty of justice to the Lord who's been so good to us.

  • Is 42:1-4, 6-7  Here's my servant; he'll bring justice.  I, the Lord, called you, grasped you, formed you, and set you as light for all, to open the eyes of the blind and to release prisoners and those in darkness.
    • Acts 10:34-38  Peter: God shows no partiality; he accepts all who fear him and act uprightly.  God anointed Jesus with the Spirit and power; Jesus did good and healed the oppressed.
    • Mt 3:13-17  Jesus came to John to be baptized.  John tried to prevent him, saying, I need to be baptized by you...”, but Jesus replied, “Allow it; it's fitting...”; then he allowed him.  Jesus came up, heaven opened, he saw the Spirit descend onto him, and a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son....”
    • Creighton:  Isaiah tried to prepare the people.  The Messiah will surprise us, coming as a servant, ministering to the forgotten.  We imagined a conqueror, not friend to broken creatures, and old expectations are stubborn.   We look for greatness in the wrong places.  John was uncomfortable.  Jesus' feet were in the mud like the others'.  Baptizing the Holy One didn't seem proper, though Jesus reassured him.  Jesus, who came to share our humanity and serve sinners, emerged joyous from the water.  In accepting our humanity, we find God’s embrace....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Christmas ends; new world begins":  The Lord is calling us to end the Christmas season by going back to Baptism, the beginning of our Christian life. Today is an ideal time to renew our baptismal promises.  When we end Christmas in faith, we know we're the Father's beloved children. This affirmation of love fills us "with the Holy Spirit and power." Father-loved and Spirit-filled, we imitate Jesus, "doing good works and healing all in the devil's grip," and so establish "the victory of justice" "to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness."  The renewal of your baptismal promises has much to say about the world's future....
    • Passionist:  Have you experienced an event that first made a deep impression on you, then faded?  Do you want to recover its the meaning?  Follow today's gospel, and you'll discover the meaning of your baptism.  Our baptism introduces us as one with Jesus, God's children; it's a matter of faith in God's love. The voice Jesus heard speaks within us at Baptism.  We seek hope, as people did in John's time, when they lived in fear and there was no sign of change but still hoped for a Messiah. They knew one was coming, but who, from where, and how?  John led them to the Messiah, to hope.  Aren't we called to lead people to hope?  These statements lead people to hope:  “I understand.”  “You can trust me.”  “I'm available.”  “My faith tells me....”  “I'm on your side.”  “I respect your wishes.”  “I'll be truthful with you.”  “I'll encourage you.”  “I'll make it easier for you to tell the truth.”  “I forgive you.”  “Let me know what happens, and we can talk more.”  “I want to listen to you.”  “I'm sorry.”  “I'm with you when you're weak or defenseless.”  Jesus wanted to be baptized to show everyone he's like us in all things but sin.  God chose us; we didn't choose him.  We were baptized into God's family out of love.  Jesus wants to draw close to each of us.  By being baptized with the others that day, he identified with us and with the effects of sin:  suffering, disappointment, rejection, unfulfilled promises and expectations.  Jesus wants us to continue the mission he began, when the Spirit led him into the desert, to face the devil in every circumstance.   The mission to lead others to hope comes through our union with Christ in baptism; we can through our attention to the Word and our words and behavior.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus humbly submitted to baptism by John":   Jesus didn't need to repent but still approached John for baptism.  His submission foreshadows his "baptism of blood" on the cross.  His baptism is the acceptance and beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant.  Submitting to his Father's will, he let himself be numbered among sinners.  The Father proclaimed his delight in his Son, and the Spirit anointed Jesus for his ministry.  At his baptism heaven opened, and Jesus and the Spirit sanctified the waters; a new creation began.  "Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him" (Gregory Nazianzen).  To be transformed in the likeness of Christ and become a more effective instrument of the gospel, ask the Spirit to give you Jesus' humility.  The Lord anoints us for mission as ambassadors of his kingdom of justice, peace, and joy, to be salt and light that radiate his mercy and goodness.  He wants his love and truth to shine through us that many may find life, freedom, and joy in the Spirit....
    Dress legend
    • 'Scales' pin:  My servant shall bring justice (Is 42)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  I've grasped you by the hand (Is 42)
    • 'Lights' tie:  I set you as a light for the nations... (Is 42)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  ...to open the eyes of the blind (Is 42)
    • Phone (oops; forgot):  I, the Lord, have 'called' you (Is 42)
    • 'Dove' pin:  I've put my spirit on my servant (Is 42); God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10); Spirit descended on Jesus (gospel)
    • 'Thunderbolt' pin:  The God of glory thunders (Ps 29)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is enthroned as king forever (Ps 29)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Lord will bless his people with peace (Ps 29); God proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ (Acts 10)
    • 'Heart' pin:  "This is my beloved Son" (gospel)
    • Blue and white shirt:  Blue:  The Lord's voice is over the waters (Ps 29); I've baptized you with water (gospel); white for liturgical color of today
    • 'Noël' button:  Christmas season ends today

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