A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD – CYCLE “C” – 1/10/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I was born in September of 1960. Yes, I am fully aware that that is ancient history for many of you, and way before most of you were born! There’s not a lot that I remember about the first few months of my life. I don’t remember the presidential election of 1960, where for the first time a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, was elected to lead our country as President. I don’t remember Chevrolet introducing the Corvair, as America’s first small car. I don’t remember the Flintstones being on TV for the first time, in black and white, of course. And I don’t remember President Eisenhower sending the first 3500 American troops to Vietnam, for what end up being the beginning of the Vietnam War. In the last few months of 1960 and the first few months of 1961, I was most interested in my next bottle of milk, my next nap, and that wonderful feeling of having on a clean diaper!
Two weeks after I was born, on Sunday, October 2nd, my parents took me to church, to our Parish, where Monsignor John P. Schall, our Pastor, baptized me. Monsignor Schall was very important to our family. As the oldest child and the oldest grandchild, they took lots of pictures. And so, while like most of the events of last of months of 1960, I don’t remember my Baptism, I certainly am very aware that it happened. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve seen the clothes I wore that day and the candle that I was given. I’ve even seen the Baptismal Record Book where Monsignor Schall wrote my name, and my parent’s names, and my Godparent’s names. I just don’t remember it. I was too young.
And that’s also the case for most of us, as Catholics. One of the most important and powerful events of our lives, happened so very early on, that most of us don’t remember it. And that’s exactly why today’s Feast Day of the Baptism of the Lord, is so important. Today gives each and every one of us a chance to reflect on and recall our own Baptisms. We know that the whole reason why Jesus was Baptized, was so that we would know, that that was exactly how He wanted our Faith lives to begin. When we were baptized there probably wasn’t a bird coming down from Heaven or a loud voice from the sky. And yet, what God did for us on the day of our Baptisms, is even more important than what He did for His Son, Jesus. Jesus didn’t have original sin. Jesus didn’t have any sin. Jesus didn’t need saved. But we do! And so, from the very beginning of our lives, our parents and our Godparents wanted us to have the Gift of Faith. They wanted us to be in God’s family, the Church. And they wanted us to have salvation in Jesus Christ! Our Baptisms may very well be the greatest gift that we have ever received! We’ve got to celebrate that! We’ve got to give thanks to God for this incredible blessing!
And since most of us don’t remember our own Baptisms, the next best day for us to do this, is today on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord! What was begun that day, must now continue for the rest of our lives! Baptism is only the beginning! Faith, Hope, and Love grows every day in the heart of the Baptized! We must stay committed and remember daily our Baptismal promises, but even more we must keep growing in our Faith. The be-all and end-all of our Faith can’t be the fact that we were Baptized! It’s not the end of the story. It’s just the beginning! Jesus’ Baptism was the beginning of His public ministry. It all started there at the Jordan River. Today, as we get ready to go into Ordinary Time, this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is our kick-off to get busy doing our work for the Lord!
We don’t want to ever forget that we are Baptized people, members of God’s Church! No matter when we were Baptized, whether it was ninety years ago, or nine days ago, from here on out, we are to follow Christ. We are to make Him the center of our life! And we are to busy building that Kingdom that He initiated two-thousand years ago!
We might not remember our Baptisms. And that’s O.K. As long as we never forget, that we are Baptized!
+ May God bless us on this Feast Day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!