The Baptism Of The Lord



This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord and this feast marks the end of the Christmas season. For those of us who have carefully prepared through Advent for a joyful celebration of Christmas and Epiphany, it’s with a sense of sadness that we let go of the childhood of Jesus. Mary and Joseph must have seen all of this coming as they hear Jesus’ excuse after their three-day search for Him in the Temple: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s House?” And now, some years later, Joseph is dead, and a sword has pierced Mary’s soul as she bids goodbye to her Son. I often ask people what did Mary say to Jesus when they found him in the temple and the answers I have got are never the simple answer that I would expect and that answer is simply Mary asking Jesus where have you been your father and I missed you. I think that this is the question that Jesus will ask all those who no longer practice the faith when they return to the faith but that is for another time.

The baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of the public life and ministry of Jesus as he set out to do the Father’s will announcing the arrival of the kingdom of God. The beginning of the messianic work of Jesus is marked by the moment of his baptism in the Jordan. We remember that John the Baptist foretold Jesus  coming and he is acclaimed on earth by John and Jesus links himself to John by being baptized by him. Jesus is acclaimed from heaven by the voice of the Father and the presence of the Spirit.

None of us remember when we were baptized when we were infants but that said we may have known an Adult who was baptized at the Easter Vigil or at another time.  Most of us rarely, if ever, think about our baptism. Through our baptism we died with Christ and thus have been reborn into a whole new life (Romans 6). We, the baptized, are made a part of the body of Christ. We are called to imitate Jesus, whom Paul says, “went about doing good.” We don’t need a detailed rule book in order to know how we should act in each situation of our lives, for in baptism, we have the companionship of the Spirit of Jesus who is our wisdom, impulse and help to do good, That same Spirit will enable us to do what is right in every situation we may find ourselves in.

This weekend we stand with the French people after the attacks in Paris outrages against the ideals of free speech and brotherliness. But as we stand as one with the French we must also recognize that we should not answer hatred with hatred but instead answer hatred with love. This is the ideal that we try to put into our lives but it is so very hard for all of us who call ourselves Christians. We ask god for the strength to approach our problems and those who attack us and our way of living in a way that promotes love, and promotes the Kingdom of Jesus Christ whose baptism in the Jordan we celebrate this Sunday.


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