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YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD.
HOMILY THEME: HE IDENTIFIED WITH SINNERS.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
HOMILY: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
My dear people of God, today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The Baptism of the Lord is the great event celebrated by the Eastern churches on the feast of Epiphany because it is the occasion of the first public revelation of all the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, and the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world by God the Father. Hence, it is described by all four Gospels. It marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
Jesus’ baptism by John was a mystical experience that Jesus felt deep within his soul at the crucial turning point of his life. The opening of the Heavens with Holy Spirit descending as a dove upon Jesus, and the Voice declaring of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son with Whom I am well pleased,” are God’s revelation to mankind of the Mystery that He is Triune. In His baptism, Jesus identified with sinners,
For our sake he made him be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (cf Rom 3:21). His baptism was a moment of equipment. The Holy Spirit equipped Jesus by descending on him in the form of a dove, giving him the power of preaching and healing. In His baptism, His divine sonship, ministry and identity were confirmed. So today is a great feast because it reminds us also of our identity and mission. It is a day we renew our baptismal promises. We are all baptised in Christ that we might die to sin and live in newness of life.
~A moment of identification:
Posterity will always remember the heroic effort of leaders who identified with their people in time of national crises and suffering. Worthy of mention here is Martin Luther King who identified with his enslaved and maltreated people and became the voice of the voiceless in the name of God. Consequently, he was maligned, beaten, jailed, and assassinated while he preached peace, justice and non-violence on behalf of the downtrodden Afro-Americans in the U. S. His heroic example definitely demonstrates Christian living for tens of millions of the poor and alienated Afro- Americans in the U.S. and the oppressed millions worldwide. To be a Christian is to identify with others in moments of peace and crises. There is no Christianity in isolation.No one is a Christian unto himself. We are called to live for others. Let your light so shine before men, that. they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.,(cf Mathew 5:16).
The baptism of Jesus is a moment of identification with humanity he has come to save. Jesus did not live in isolation. He identified with men in every circumstance of their earthly life except sin. He was baptised to give us an example we must follow. In a world of individualism, we are called to identify especially with those who are suffering: the poor, the sick, the homeless, victims of natural disasters etc. just like Christ identified with all these during His earthly mission. When we understand that humanity is one big neighbourhood then we can better appreciate the reason to reach out to others. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep (cf Rom 12:15). When we rejoice and enjoy our comfort zones when millions out there are weeping, hungry, marginalized and dying what do we really gain? God has called us to help others : to see, through the love actually and the help that we give, that He loves them, that He also invites them to be His sons and daughters and that He wants to be their helper and strength through all the troubles that life in this world can bring.
~ Our identity and mission: In our world were many are actually confused about who they are and why they are here, this great feast of the baptism of the Lord provides a fundamental answer to who we are and why we are here. Baptism reminds us of our identity and mission. “ No one merits baptism, which is always a free gift to all, adults and newborns. But as happens with a small seed full of life, this gift takes root and bears fruit in land nourished by faith.” -Pope francis
Baptism reminds us of who we are and
Whose we are? By Baptism, we become the adoptive sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of Heaven and temples of the Holy Spirit. We become incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made sharers in the priesthood of Christ [CCC #1279]. Hence, “ Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other Sacraments ”.-CCC# 1213
~Our mission To live as the children of God in thought, word and action so that our Heavenly Father may say to each one of us what He said to Jesus: “ You are My beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased.” It is our mission to lead a holy and transparent Christian life and not desecrate our bodies (the temples of the Holy Spirit and members of Jesus’ Body) by impurity, injustice, intolerance, jealousy or hatred. We called to accept both the good and the bad experiences of life as the gifts of a loving Heavenly Father for our growth in holiness; It is our mission to grow daily in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by reading the Word of God, by participating in the Holy Mass, and by frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation; and to be co-creators with God in building up the “Kingdom of God” on earth, a Kingdom of compassion, justice and love, and to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
~A moment of equipment: The Holy Spirit equipped Jesus by descending on him in the form of dove, giving him the power of preaching and healing. So by our baptism we not only become priests, prophets and kings, we are also equipped with grace for every good work. As God’s children, we have equal access to God and we have the power and grace to work miracles. Don’t be intimidated by anyone because you are well equipped by God. All we need is to strive daily to live holy lives and remain connected with God the source of our power and grace. When we disconnect from God by living sinful lives we lose this inner power – the sanctifying grace.
Let us renew our baptismal commitments today and persevere in our Christian faith. Trusting in the mercy of God who wishes all men to be saved. “The baptismal promises that we renew every year in the Easter Vigil have to be reaffirmed every day, so that baptism ‘Christifies’ whoever has received it, rendering us truly another Christ. ” -Pope Francis
May God strengthen our resolutions this year especially to love, serve and be faithful to our calling as God’s children and heirs of the kingdom of God.
… Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (cf John 3:3)
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi.