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The Baptism Of The Lord

January 11/2015

 

 

WHO IS THAT MAN?

 

 

 

Reading I
Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or Is 40:1-5, 9-11


Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10.


(11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.


Reading II
Acts 10:34-38 or It 2:11-14; 3:4-7

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.


Gospel

Mk 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
 

 


 


Homily/Sermon

 

I remember the first time a few years ago that I started to view the movie, the "Passion of Christ" on DVD. I got so far as the 'Scourging at the Pillar' and decided to turn it off. I just couldn't stomach it. I didn't want to think that Jesus could have been that badly tortured.

A week or so later, right before Christmas, I decided to watch it again until the finish. The movie was very graphic, but I realized how real it must have been for our Lord, our Savior, that man hanging on that cross dying for our sins, until his last words, "It is Finished."



That man. His mission was over. It was done. He paid the price, taken our sins upon himself, and offered them to His Father on that cross. That man, that human being, like us in every way but sin.



After the watching the movie, I started to browse through some homilies (sermons) that I had prepared ahead of time for the upcoming weeks. As I was browsing I came across one on the baptism of the Lord. About that time my two granddaughters came in the door, and the youngest came and jumped on my lap. She looked at the photo of Jesus being baptized and said, "Who is that man Grandpa?" Being three years of age I tried to explain as best I could, but she kept asking who and what and why? She went into the kitchen for a while. I looked at the photo again and asked myself, Who is that man going down into that water and coming up like all the rest? They are after all, sinners, like we are. They needed to repent as do we. They needed to be baptized as do we. Jesus is none of that. He doesn't need to be baptized, and yet, maybe he did need to, to "fulfill all righteousness" as he told John, if he was going to accomplish his mission.



Humankind has failed God so many times before and failed even ourselves. Adam and Eve in the Garden. Hadn't God given it all to them, and told them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge? That's all. Just that . . . and they blew it. Hadn't God continued to love His people and to forgive them? And yet, hadn't the people failed to accept God's love, but instead continued to live in sin? Hadn't God been so disappointed with the sin and evil of the people that he had Noah and his sons build an ark, because God was going to destroy the world by means of a flood? And that He did. He sent prophets to teach the people His laws. Hadn't He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the sinfulness of the people, except for Lot's family, whom he spared? And even then, he told them not to look back and Lot's wife looked back and bingo, she turned into a pillar of salt.



Hadn't God brought His enslaved people out of Egypt, led by Moses, so they could live on a new land, a promised land? Hadn't God performed miracles to show His power, love, unbinding care, and compassion for the Israelites? And yet, they made false gods and continued to live in evil and sin. Hadn't God given Moses the Ten Commandments so that they (and us) would have His laws to live by? What happened? How many more chances could God have given? His love is so deep for us, so compassionately forgiving that He sent this man, His only Son, to save what his Father had created? To take upon his shoulders the sins of the world, that he became sin, so that paradise might be an option for us once again – Eternal life could become a reality for us so that we might share in His divinity?



And so his baptism did mark the beginning of his mission, new life breathed into a deflated sinful humankind. His baptism was an indication of his humanity, an invitation for them and us to follow him on his mission, to begin anew, washed clean and sent out to join him on that salvation journey, that would lead to that tragic end, his death on that cross where he uttered those words, "It is Finished."



Who is that man who loves us so much that he would take upon his shoulders our pain, our cross, our suffering, our terrorism, depression, our cancer, our poverty, our fears, our unbelief, our helplessness, and our sins? Who is this man who calls us to walk with him, letting go of all the things that keep us apart from him . . . the indifference, the complacency, the refusal to love, the revenge, the self-righteousness, the years of not talking to a brother, sister, mother, father for no important reason? Who is this man who preaches forgiveness and compassion and love, and who embraces all of us with every fiber of his being and offers us up to his Father?



Who is this man who calls us to share in his baptism, his mission, to walk his journey, rather our journey? Do we just follow him when it is convenient for us? When it is easy? Do we follow him only until a certain age, thinking that he will walk the rest of our steps for us?



Living God's way isn't easy. It's not suppose to be. There is the reality of the tremendous pain and suffering in our imperfect world, times of doubt of his presence, times of despair, of being tired. Amid growing corruption in world governments, the tensions brought about because of so much terrorism around the globe, and our government administration's failure to call it for what it is, and who is responsible, leaves all peoples less secure.  But, if we give up the journey, then there is nothing. There is no eternal life, no everlasting peace, no heaven for us and our children to go to. Love God with our whole hearts, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves, despite the given situation in our world. And maybe finally, we are beginning to do just that!



Who is this man who cares so much for us when often times we care so little for him? Who is this man who has entered our lives and calls us "friends?" who sent his Holy Spirit to breathe on us so that we could walk the journey together, hand in hand, step by step, as one world family, striving for peace and reconciliation, motivated by love, to live as members of His Body? Who is this man?


And a voice came from heaven saying, "You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests."

It is my prayer that this message was meaningful to you.  Thank you, God bless and have a great week.


© Deacon Steve
2015

 

Follow The Little Children

 

Follow the little children and watch them play,
With no worries or fears throughout their day.
Share in their laughter, enjoy the smiles on their face,
Seeing through them God’s loving grace.
Take time to listen they have so much to say,
Enjoy all their stories let them take your worries away.
Reach out and touch them holding them close to you,
Theses are the things that God wants you to do.
Return all of their kisses, seeing how much they love,
Trusting and caring like their Father above.
Pick them up when they fall down sometimes when they play,
And bow your head and share with them, every time that they pray.
Believe like they do, let them teach you how to trust,
Never once have they doubted, that Jesus loves them so much.
Follow the little children there is so much to see,
And you will understand why God said, let the little children come to me.



Written By Eva Dimel
Inspired By God
December 21st 2010

 

 

 

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