The Baptism of the Lord!
Last weekend we celebrated Epiphany, the revelation of the Lord. This weekend we celebrate that God the Father reveals his Son at the Baptism. We can see a beautiful painting in the Gospel: the Baptism of the Lord. We can see here all three persons of God were present. Jesus Christ, the second person of God, standing at the Jordan River. We hear the voice of the Father from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.
Last weekend I mentioned at my homily, God revealed his identity in different stages. First, prophecy of the prophets. Then an intimate revelation to Mary and Joseph to bring Jesus to this world. When Jesus was born, shepherds and magi received the revelation and they came in adoration. Late John the Baptist received the revelation and we see in the Gospel for today, and he prepared the way for the Lord. He proclaims about the mightier one. Finally the disciples witnessed the fulfillment of the revelation and passed it on to us.
In the first reading prophet Isaiah made a prophecy that the return of the Israelites to their homeland. The prophet reminds them to turn away from their sin and prepare the way for the Lord for a grand procession from Babylon to Jerusalem. The ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy took place in John the Baptist. On the second Sunday of Advent we read from the Gospel of Mark 3:1-8, John the Baptist’s invitation to prepare the way for the Lord. This weekend, for the Baptism of the Lord, we read from the Gospel of Luke, John the Baptist to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord through the baptism of repentance. At Jesus’ baptism he was praying and the heaven opened and confirmed his divinity and revealed the three persons of the Trinity.
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes Christmas and begins the meditation on the ministry of Jesus. Why baptism for Jesus? God’s love was so generous to humble him for us. The Son of God humbled Himself to such a degree that He was born in a manger. He humbled Himself accepting the baptism of John even though He was sinless. When Jesus was baptized, a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased." The same thing happened to us on the day we were baptized. At that moment God said to us, “you are my beloved son/daughter.”
On the day of our baptism, as in St. Pope John Paul II’s writings, "We were anointed with the oil of catechumens, the sign of Christ's gentle strength, to fight against evil. Blessed water was poured over us, an effective sign of interior purification through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We were then anointed with chrism to show that we were thus consecrated in the image of Jesus, the Father's Anointed One. The candle lighted from the paschal candle was a symbol of the light of faith which our parents and godparents must have continually safeguarded and nourished with the life-giving grace of the Spirit." The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of our mission, the mission of the Church.
St. Anthony Catholic School Survey: Thank you to all those who filled out the survey. If you didn’t fill out one please fill out as soon as possible. Whatever your answer is, we would like to hear from you. You can do it online or this past week we celebrated two great saints: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann, who started the Catholic School and parochial school system. I would like to invite you all to join me to ask for their intercession.