Water is probably to most important substances on Earth. Most of the planet and our bodies are made up of water. Water can be destructive like flash floods and tsunamis, but it also can be very beautiful and therapeutic like quiet babbling brooks, streams,and gentle waterfalls. The serenity produced by a quiet lake or pond can be healing or the awesome power of the ocean can produce great wonder and awe in the Creator. A placid lake can reproduce the image of the surrounding trees or yourself starring to its depths, but the one in whose image we are created plums to our depths and shows His divine love for us, as his pure, sinless Body is exposed to baptism.
Just as Moses parted the Red Sea, with God’s help, to allow Israel to pass through to the Promised Land, Jesus stands in the Jordan River to part us from our sins. He didn’t need baptizing, but we do so that we can follow in His footsteps on His path to purity and spiritual renewal, a re-birth to the Promised Land of Heaven. The celebration of the Feast of The Baptism of the Lord is far more than a signal of an end -the end to the Christmas Season. It is the signal of our new covenantal relationship with the Blessed Trinity. The Baptism of Christ is NOT the Father revealing to Jesus who He is but, the Father, Son and Spirit revealing to us who we truly are, adopted sons and daughters of the Father.
The scene of Jesus’ Baptism calls to mind the Creation of the world with the Spirit hovering over the waters with all three persons of the Trinity in full communion with each other creating the world and us. He reveals our belovedness to ourselves! The covenant He develops with us begins at our conception when the Spirit hovers over the husband and wife, our earthly parents, waiting to be invited in during their marital embrace, a holy exchange of love. The Spirit must be invited and not blocked with artificial contraception, which breaks our covenant with our Almighty Father. Our covenant is strengthened and imbued with His Divine Grace at our baptism and confirmation, when we are invited ever deeper into the communion of Persons known as the Holy Trinity. The fruit of the love the Father has for the Son and the love the Son has for the Father IS the Holy Spirit. Similarly, the love husband has for wife and wife has for husband pro-creates us. This reveals the diving meaning and truth of the true family unit, into which we are baptized.
Pope St. John Paul II reminded us throughout his 27-year pontificate and especially in his work Theology of the Body that we have divine origin and divine destiny and therefore have great dignity and are beloved (be-loved) children of the Father. Do you allow yourself to be-loved by Our Father and by others? Or do unhealed past hurts prevent us from letting anyone close to us anymore? Jesus humbled Himself to be baptized in the Jordan, by John, a sinner, not for you or me to remain in hurt or pain, but to redeem us on the Cross and heal the brokenhearted, free captives and give sight to the blind, including the spiritually blind and give light to those living in darkness. He came as a little baby and died a slaughtered lamb and will not break a “bruised reed” or “quench a smoldering wick.” Do you trust in Jesus? Who is Jesus to you? Do you know your true value and dignity as measured by God and not what you have or produce? The Holy Spirit testifies to the Truth of who Jesus is and who we are. Remember: a voice is coming from heaven and is saying to you -you are my beloved son or daughter! I suggest we listen to that voice, amen
To download a PDF version of this homily, click here: Baptism of the Lord – Year B
Rev. Tom DeSimone was ordained a priest on May 13, 2006, the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima for the Archdiocese of New York. Father Tom served as the Theology of the Body Institute’s first full time spiritual advisor and Director of Clergy Development from 2013-2016.Father Tom now serves as the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard in Manhattan.