Baptism of our Lord

A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD – CYCLE “B” –  1/11/15  SMG

+Pax et Bonum!  Peace and Goodness to you this day!

We are very blessed to have many important days in our lives.  There are just certain days that stand out, and mark important milestones, and mark the beginnings and endings of certain stages of our life.  We think of the day that we graduated from high school, or maybe the day that we started our first, real job, or the day that we got our driver’s license.  Then there are the even bigger days in this life, like the day that you got married, or the day that you had your first child, or the day that you have to bury a parent or a grandparent.  As Catholics, we also have the important days of our receiving the Sacraments of First Reconciliation, and First Communion, and Confirmation.   And then there are many others.  Maybe they aren’t quite as important, but stick out none-the-less.  Times when we got our first haircut, or when we to our first prom, or when we went on vacation for the first time without our parents.  Our lives are made up of so many important times, and experiences, and events.  Many of them, we will treasure in our hearts, not only for the rest of our lives, but some, for all eternity.

Perhaps the most important day of our lives, for most of us as Catholic Christians, ironically is one that so many of us don’t even remember.  We don’t remember it because we were infants.  We were babies.  And that event is our Baptisms.  On the day of our Baptism, we put on Christ.  We began our walk with Jesus.  We were initiated into His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  We were washed clean of Original Sin and began a life of Grace.  We made our Baptismal promises, or more likely, they were made for us by our parents and Godparents.  There was water, and oil, and fire, and prayers.  A Baptism is a pretty dramatic beginning to the Christian life.   And yet, most of us rarely recall the day of our Baptisms.  I wonder, without looking up the certificate, can you tell me on what day you were baptized?  Most Catholics can’t.

And that’s just one of the reasons why today’s Feast of the Baptism of our Lord is so important.  By celebrating today this occasion in Jesus’ life, it is demanded that each one of us recalls our own Baptism in the Faith.  We know that Jesus didn’t need Baptism.  There were no sins to wash away.  Jesus is out there at the Jordan River, getting Baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist, not for himself, but for us!  Jesus is modeling for us the way that the Christian life all begins.  Jesus’ Baptism is an act of supreme humility on His part, and yet for us, it sets the pattern.  It sets the precedent! Clearly, what Jesus went through on the day He was Baptized, is His hope and expectation for all of us, as we begin the Christian life.  That makes the day of our Baptism an extraordinary occasion!  His Baptism makes us recall that day every year before we go back to Ordinary Time.  We are different from other people.  We cannot be the same.

And that’s what we most want to remember today.  Our Baptisms changed us.  Whether it happened eighty or ninety years ago, or whether  we were Baptized yesterday.  It doesn’t matter.  We died with Christ, and now, after our Baptisms, we live for Christ.  We can’t be like everybody else, because in fact, we’re not like everybody else.  We have been set aside for eternal life!  We have been washed clean in the blood of the lamb.  We have been changed forever for eternal life!  We can’t forget that.  Our Baptism was one of, or quite possibly, the most important day of our life!  And it is so important, because our Baptism colors everything we do, every day, afterwards.  We belong to Christ.  We are His people.  And nothing will ever be the same again.

Following His Baptism, Jesus began His public ministry.  He went to work!  It was time to get busy.

We might well ask what we are to do next, following the end of Christmas season.  Just as for Christ, it is time for us to go to work.  It is time for us to get busy.  It is time for us to continue building that Kingdom that Jesus initiated two-thousand years ago.  As we do so, let us not forget who we are, and what we are supposed to be all about.  And let today be a reminder for all of us!

+ May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                               AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…             Pray for us !!!