Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed him "playing church" with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later, she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, "Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!" Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church."
Do you remember your baptism? Most of us don’t. Once I was baptizing a baby. When I poured the water on his head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he turned his head and looked at me with a question “where is this coming from?” In another baptism, a baby was ready to jump in the baptismal font and play. What did you do at your baptism?
Last weekend we celebrated Epiphany, the revelation of the Lord. This weekend again we celebrate God the Father reveals his Son: Baptism of the Lord. We can see a beautiful painting in the Gospel: the Baptism of the Lord. We can see here all three persons of God was present. Jesus Christ, the second person of God, standing at the Jordan River. We hear the voice of the Father from heaven and Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.
We know the Exodus story from the Old Testament, a journey from slavery to the Promised Land. In that journey, the Israelites crossed two rivers. We all know the story of crossing the Red Sea. It was the beginning of the Exodus story. The end of the Exodus story is crossing the Jordan River and entering the Promised Land.
In the New Testament, at the Baptism of the Lord, it begins the new Exodus story. It echoes the Old Testament. Jesus is the new Moses who is going to bring humanity out of slavery eternally. When David was anointed as king with oil in the Old Testament, Jesus was anointed with “the Spirit of God” at the baptism. Jesus is the true king. First Exodus leads to earthly Promised Land, but the new Exodus leads us to heavenly Promised Land.
The Baptism of the Lord was the inauguration of the new Exodus. Then began his ministry of the miracle at Cana, opening the eyes of the blind, healing the sick, bringing out prisoners from confinement, feeding the five thousand, instituting the Eucharist to remain with us forever, and offering on the cross, poured out blood to give us new baptism, to wash away our sins. Through his passion, death, and resurrection, he gave us Sacraments to prepare us to go out bring the same ministry he did.
When we walk into the Church, most of us dip the fingers of our right hands into the holy water font and bless ourselves when we came into the church. Why? This blessing is supposed to remind us of our baptism. And so when I bless myself with holy water, I should be thinking of the fact that I am a child of God; that I have been redeemed by the Cross of Christ; that I have been made a member of God’s family and that I have been washed, forgiven, cleansed and purified by the blood of the Lamb and I have been sent out to bring the Good News by serving one another.
Thank you: I would like to thank you, everyone, who serve in our cluster parishes in different ministries. Your time, talent and treasure make our cluster vibrant and life-giving. Thank you.