Sermon For The Baptism of the Lord (Jan 11th, Year B).

Introduction

We focus on Christ’s baptism today and doing so we might reflect on our baptism. Then, as in the first reading, the lord said to us, “I have called you to serve the cause of right”. This call is for all people, for as Paul says in the second reading “all who fear God and do what’s right is acceptable to him”. The Father said of Jesus at his baptism, “This is my beloved Son”. He says the same to each of us at baptism. Lets confess any ways we fail to live out our baptismal promise to live holy lives..

 

Homily

What a gift baptism is. A tiny person becomes God’s child, sheltered forever from evil and death. Our Gospel shows this in Jesus’s own baptism. When I was in the Holy Land a group of us relived that experience. In the desert, off with our shoes and into cool Jordan water; knobbly knees, varicose veins and all. As water poured over me I imagined the gospel scene; the rough figure of John, crowds waiting to have cleansing water poured over them. Then a magnetic person comes, ordinary yet full of God’s glory. A dove swoops. The Father can’t contain himself any longer: He shouts: “This is my Beloved Son”. Yet at our baptism God says the same to each of us; “This is my beloved son, this is my beloved daughter”. Then we become his children and he dotes over us as he doted over Jesus. We in turn should live as his children and cherish every person, regardless of color or nation, as our brother or sister. Because that our baptismal calling.

In baptism we receive two great vocations. Firstly, to be holy as our Heavenly Father is, and then to spread the faith to others. Whether we’re farmers, shopkeeper, nurses, street cleaners, or the unemployed its all the same. As Vatican 11 says, we all receive the same Spirit at baptism and we’re all given two great tasks: to be holy, and to help build God’s kingdom of love, justice and truth as part of his holy church. For at baptism we were all anointed as priests and prophets to transform the face of the earth. We may say that’s impossible. No! We’ve God’s great power to do it in the Spirit that is given to us at Baptism and Confirmation. Young or old, sick or well, working or pensioners we never retire from that calling, to be active workers for Christ and all that’s holy. We’re to live out to the end the sacred promises we made before God to be Christ’s life-long servants, faithful weekly worshiping members of his church and everyday saints. For its only within God’s faithful, the me and God alone crowd are so wrong, that we come to full faith.

That’s why I say to people at confession, stop listing pecadillos. Confess rather the ways you’ve failed to live up to your baptismal calling to be active workers for Christ and his church. Someone said to me once, “I don’t practice the faith but I harm to no one”. Our calling is more than that narrow negative objective. Were not just to avoid doing evil, we’re to do much good. Indeed in the power of the Spirit we’re to change the face of the earth for Christ. What we should confess is the state of our soul in this, the problems and issues holding back our progress in active faith and goodness. For its only through us that the world can become the kingdom of God in Christ. That’s the why of the sacraments; to help us grow in God’s life and charity. The important thing’s not our external wealth but our inner riches. For the hard values of a world of which Satan is lord fade to ashes at last and leave us empty, but Christ is lord of love, goodness, peace, happiness, beauty and salvation both for this world’s happiness and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s infinitely valuable children, made so at baptism, serving all that’s good and holy in the world as part of our timeless baptismal and confirmation vocation, let’s profess our faith.

 

Prayers of the faithful

As glorious children of a loving Father lets ask Him with confidence for all our deepest needs..

 

For our Holy Father, may he lead the people of God with fatherly care and be blessed by good health and fruitful ministry..

 

For civil leaders that they may govern the people with wisdom integrity and justice for all, especially the poor..

 

For our young people born again through water and the Holy Spirit that they may live up to their baptismal and confirmation promises and so make a difference by their lives..

 

For ourselves in our homes, workplaces and community, may we serve Christ, his church and all that’s good as we promised when we became his children and were anointed as priests at baptism..

 

For the sick, may they be comforted and healed by the presence of God in their lives and through our care know his special love..

 

For the dead who wore the white garment of Christ at baptism and at various other times in their life’s journey that they may come to the resurrection it symbolises, aided by our prayers

 

We ask all these prayers of the Father as his beloved sons through Christ our lord, amen.

 

Reflection

Water’s a wonderful thing; it cleanses, sustains and nourishes us. I myself often visit Torc waterfall in Killarney. As I listen to the water there, it roars of foams in wet weather, it soothes my soul. It evokes the presence of God, as all beautiful things in nature does. But, as the poet says, we don’t always pay attention to beauty around us. Getting and spending in the frantic pace of modern life we “lay waste our powers”. We ask God Mary to give us the grace to pause and come into contact with the good earth every so often and our true selves in God..Hail Mary

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