The Baptism of the Lord
10 January 2021
“On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.”
Brothers and Sisters,
Before Jesus embarked on his formal ministry to offer his Father’s healing and proclaim his kingdom, all four Gospels tell us John the Baptist approached him on the Jordan River. Each Gospel author offers a slight variance, but all emphasize his Father proclaiming Jesus his beloved Son as the Holy Spirit descends.
And for centuries, many, including myself, have pondered over this meeting. Why? Since Jesus was conceived of the Spirit, and presuming the Spirit remained with him, why did Jesus require the same Holy Spirit to come upon him? Was Jesus seeking fatherly confirmation for his vocation and the ministry? I believe in his humanity; Jesus needed what we all seek — reassurance and encouragement.
Though he welcomed support from his heavenly Father, this isn’t an indication that Christ wavered in doing God’s will. The Gospels also tell us something else. Jesus regularly spent time in prayer and listening to be sure of his Father’s will. In imitation of Jesus, let’s periodically separate ourselves from the busy-ness of our lives, to be present with God in prayer. Offer your hearts, praying for those who are dear to you along with the needs of our world. And be sure to listen, so in turn, you’re blessed to hear the Word of grace, comfort, mercy, hope.
The Baptism of the Lord serves as a reminder of our baptisms. Along with the grace which allows us to share in the life and ministry of Jesus. However, the sacrament isn’t just for the recipient, but a celebration intended for the entire parish community. For many of us, our parents and godparents commit to helping us live in holiness, sharing in the ministry of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king. The Rite of Baptism expects the parish community to reaffirm their commitment to supporting their vital role of forming our children as disciples as well. In the coming weeks, let us be reminded of this awesome responsibility!
Let me also remind you to keep one another in your prayer. Join me in praying for our fellow parishioners, those near in Church or gathered online, and those who miss seeing at the same Mass each weekend. And let us not be afraid to voice those prayers – to let each other know that we are praying for them. After all, the voice of the Father was never timid. But that of the “heavens being torn open.” May this call to action inspire our commitment to one another!
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Child Jesus,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett