YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
HOMILY THEME: I HAVE PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM; HE WILL BRING FORTH JUSTICE TO THE NATIONS.
BY: Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf.
HOMILY: READINGS: Is. 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps. 28:1-4, 9-10 R.V. 11; Acts 10:34-38; Matt.3:13-17
Today is the Baptism of the Lord and it marks the end of Christmas celebration. It also serves as the first week of the Ordinary time of the Church year A.
Often times, people ask whether this celebration is about the Baptism that Jesus administered on someone or the one HE himself received. The question arises from the conviction that scripturally Jesus was not mentioned categorically administering baptism on anybody, but the gospel of today was clear about the celebration which is the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptizer. This does not mean that Jesus did not baptize anybody even though scripture was not clear about it but did so implicitly even as he commanded the disciple to go into the whole world baptizing people in the name of the Trinity. The Vatican 11 Document clearly said it that when someone baptizes it is Christ who does so.
The great question is what type of baptism did John administer? If it is that of preparing people for Christ through baptism of repentance and conversion (As for you little child you shall go ahead of him to prepare his people before him-Benedictus of Zachariah), then why did Jesus accept such baptism? Is he to repent from what sin- He the sinless Son of God? Or is He to be converted from what to what? This narrows the question to why baptism at all or the importance and necessity of baptism.
1 Jesus by receiving baptism from John gives credence and support to the divine mission of John.
2 Accepting baptism from John is a clear manifestation of the importance of baptism to all born of women.
3 It served as an opportunity for God to announce that Jesus is truly the only begotten Son of the Father in Heaven who is pleasing before God than any other. His praises was sung by the responsorial psalm of today.
4 It offered the people an opportunity to behold the manifestation of the Blessed Trinity at one instance- The Son in the water receiving baptism, the Holy Spirit descending as a dove upon Him anointing Him with power and the Father testifying to His Son through His voice from heaven.
5 It shows the earthly empowerment of Jesus to enter the desert and defeat the devil in its temptation.
The 1st reading was like the manifesto of Jesus through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah made the world know the type of person Jesus is, the effect He will bring to the whole world and how he is to do it. It predicts what God was to say in the gospel about his Son: “My servant, my chosen one, my soul delights in him and my spirit is upon him” (Is 42:1-2; Matt. 3:17)
The same reading made us aware of the mission of Jesus after baptism which of course is the mission of every baptized Christian:
1 He must bring forth justice to the nations
2 He will not be violent but calmly achieve his objectives
3 He will not allow any situation to discourage him in his mission in the world
4 He is a sign of God’s covenant of love to the world
5 He will be a light to the nations to see God the way He truly is.
6 He will make people see and know God truly
7 He will loosen those in the bondage of sin and give them spiritual freedom of the children of God.
8 He will remove the darkness that beclouds this world in the minds of people.
9 To make sure we give each person equal opportunity in his kingdom and in this world without any partiality(Acts 10:34)
10 He is to preach peace to the world everywhere he finds himself
11 The Christian is to do good everywhere, always and to everyone he meets
12 He is giving the power to heal if not from bodily ailment, but from sickness afflicted by sin and the devil.
As A baptized Christian like Jesus, can the Father give a credible testimony of you as his well beloved with whom and through his life, his work, his speech, thought and actions even omissions he is well pleased?. Do you live up to your baptismal vows and responsibilities? The devil you rejected at baptism and which you renew on Holy Saturdays; his actions and allurement, is the devil still rejected in actuality by your life or by mere words. Is your life as a baptized Christian a real life of Christ or a camouflage? Is the baptism you received meaningful and alive, dead or decayed?
May God help us to be truly baptized and Christian in acts, thoughts and speech. Amen.
Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf.