Deacon Tom’s Homily on the Baptism of the Lord

My friends, we tend to think of Baptism as a nice little celebration with babies, (like we have today) right?  Well, it’s more than that.  Baptism is a time to celebrate new life in our family, in our parish, and in our church.  Baptism can free us from hopelessness and give us the power to change the world.  What we hear of in the Baptism of Jesus today and when we reflect on our own Baptism, we see that Baptism really is much more.
Something very powerful happened on the day Jesus lined up with the rest of the people to be baptized by John the Baptist.  John baptized people as a sign of their repentance, their desire to change their lives in order to be ready for the coming of the Messiah.  Jesus, personally, had no need to repent; had had no sin.  Still, he joined with the people to be baptized.
As Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he heard a voice say, “This is my beloved Son, on whom my favor rests.”  With that my friends, Jesus’ preaching began.  Jesus set out to teach the world about his Father.  He did not go out with a message that God was just his Father.  Rather, he taught us all to call on God as “Our Father.”  Today’s second reading tells us that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power.  The power he received made him able to heal the sick and free the captives.  The power of Jesus would change the world.
In our own baptism, God says to each of us, You are my beloved son or daughter; on you my favor rests.  When we think of people who have been chosen by God to do great things, we seem to always think of other people.  We think of people like St. Kateri Tekakwitha, or Mother Teresa, or Pope John XXIII, or our own mother or another powerful person in our life.  However, none of these great people had anything that you and I do not have.  We have been given the greatest possible honor, we have been chosen by God to be God’s children, and we have been filled with the greatest of all powers: the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have been anointed with the same Spirit as Jesus and have the same power.  We, too, have been called to bring justice to our world of injustice, compassion to our harsh world, and peace to our world of violence.
In our baptism, we joined with Jesus Christ, who was anointed priest, prophet, and king.
Friends, Jesus joined with a sinful people to be baptized by John.  Now, Jesus offers us, a sinful people, the chance to join him in Baptism.  Jesus shares with us the glory of being a child of God, and his spirit, the same spirit who appeared as a dove and endorses Jesus’ mission, fills us with the power to bring justice, love and peace to our world.  So as we close the Christmas Season today let there be no doubt that Jesus has invited us to know that what is asked of each of us is that we live and share the promises made at our own baptism today and every day.

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