The Baptism of the Lord

This Feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes Christmas Season and begins the meditation on the life and ministry of Jesus[1].

Today we can see the Son of God humbled Himself accepting the baptism of John even though He was sinless. Why? Well, Christ refused to consider Himself better than anyone. This is a big lesson of humility and simplicity for each one of us.

Even though humility and simplicity it’s a wonderful topic for a homily, I would like to focus briefly on the fact that the Lord expresses His solidarity with those looking to change the world. One of the terrible realities of our world is the fact that wars continue to be fought. A war says that whoever spills the most blood of the enemy is right.

My brothers and sisters, we are no different than the people of Jesus' time. Those who stood before John the Baptist were sick of a world full of cruelty, persecution, and war. They wanted a change and they wanted to do something about this immediately. And do you know what they did? Well they repented their own sins. They recognized that the world is not going to change unless they change. Jesus saw this and joined them. The Prince of Peace accepted the baptism of John because He also wanted the world changed. Then Jesus began His public life saying that the Kingdom of God, the New Order, is upon us.

For the New Order to take place we have to conquer our enemies with love. We had to stop striking back. The law of talons, An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth can not exist in the New Order. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you[2] is or new commandment.

How can we be shocked at the presence of war when we all have refused to accept the dictates of the Sermon on the Mount?[3] There are people who continually attack me and who continually attack you. That is a reality, so, how do I respond? How do you respond? Do we say a few choice words back to the person? Do we tell someone else what a terrible person her or she is? Do we do something to hurt the other person? There are some questions for our examination of conscience this morning.

We can all be mad by wars or other moral evils. But we must also recognize with an sincere attitude that we participate in evil every time we answer hatred with hatred instead of with love.

We who call ourselves Christians must be Christians. Jesus accepted John’s baptism to begin the work of the Kingdom. Today we ask for the strength to join Him in seeking a new way, a new mode of action, one that promotes love, even when under attack. We ask for the courage to join Him in the Jordan River, before John the Baptist, and seek the way that promotes love, the way that furthers the Kingdom of God ■

[1] Sunday 11th January, 2009, feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Readings: Isaiah 55:1-11. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation—Isaiah 12:2-6. 1 John 5:1-9. Mark 1:7-11.
[2] Mt 5:44
[3] Cfr Mt 5: 3-12.
Ilustration: The Baptism of the Lord, Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena, Madrid (Spain)

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris