Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (2013)

We end the Christmas Season and begin the Season of Ordinary Time with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord by John the Baptist[1]. Why was Jesus baptized by John? Certainly, He was not a sinner who needed to repent like so many of the others whom John baptized[2].

When Jesus was baptized He accepted the Mission that was the whole reason why He became a man. He began His public ministry which would end in the destruction of sin and hate with obedience to the Father and love for His people. Jesus embraced His Mission, defeated the devil, established the Kingdom of God, and then called on each of us to continue His ministry, more than that, to complete His ministry[3].

We are called to continue the Mission of the Jesus Christ in His Spirit, His Holy Spirit. We are determined to complete the work of the Master.  We do this through our vocations to the married life, to parenthood, to the priesthood, to religious life, or to the life of the committed Catholic single.

When we love others, we are continuing His Mission, for He is the Tremendous Lover.

When we use the particular gifts He has given to each of us to help in the parish, in the city, in our neighborhood, we are continuing His Mission.

When those of you who are married put your spouse before yourselves, you are continuing His Mission to make love the motivation of life.

When we strive to be the best at whatever it is that He calls us to do in our careers, we are continuing His Mission.

When we say “No!” to sin and “Yes” to care for all who are hurting, we are continuing His Mission.

When we make time to be kind to those whom our society hates, the socially unacceptable, we are continuing His Mission.

When we respond to the Grace to do something for someone else, no expecting any kind or reward, we are continuing His Mission.

When we realize that we are not the center of the universe, but that Jesus is the Center, we are continuing His Mission.

When we defend life from conception until natural death, we are continuing His Mission.

You are my Beloved Son.  With you I am well pleased. This was the voice of the Father over the Son after Jesus was baptized by John. The Father was pleased that Jesus embraced His Mission. He is pleased when we continue Christ’s Mission.

What a gift we have been given in Jesus Christ. Some people think that life is meaningless, without purpose.   But we Christians know why we were created and how we can live meaningful lives.  We can make a difference in the world by uniting ourselves to the One who changed the world with His Life. We can continue the Mission of Jesus Christ ■

[1] Sunday 13th January, 2013, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. W. Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11. O bless the Lord, my soul - Ps 103(102):1-4, 24-25, 27-30. Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7. Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 [St Hilary].
[2] The Fourth Eucharistic Prayer reminds us that Jesus shared our human nature in all things but sin.  John himself said that Jesus should be baptizing him, not he baptizing Jesus. So, why did Jesus go into the River Jordan and let John baptize him?.
[3] This reminds me of the famous story about the completion of Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Turandot.  Puccini was one of the greatest composers of opera of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. La Boehme, Tosca and Madame Butterfly are just a few of his most famous works.  His final work was the opera, Turandot.  He knew he was dying when he started writing Turandot and almost completed it, but he passed away before he finished the final act.  Puccini had many students and associated who gathered around his deathbed.  They made up their minds that they would complete Turandot as an expression of their esteem for the great composer.  It didn’t happen all at once, it took a number of years, but finally they finished the task.  The opera debuted at one of the most famous theaters in the world, La Scala in Milan.  It was conducted by the former pupil of Puccini, Arturo Toscanini.  The music was beautiful and the audience was spellbound.  Then in the middle of the Third Act, after the great aria, Nessun Dorma, Toscanini laid down his baton, turned to the people and announced, “It is at this point that the Master died.” You could have heard a pin drop. Then Toscanini looked at the audience and said, “But his disciples continued his work in his Spirit.”  Toscanini turned back to the stage and completed the opera to the thunderous applause of all at La Scala.

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