Today is the Baptism of the Lord and it is the last day of the Christmas Season. Ordinary time begins tomorrow. In fact, today is also the first Sunday of Ordinary time.
Our focus is on all the dramatic events that happen on this day. Consider this the beginning of the race to your salvation and the Baptism the beginning.
Here we will see the passing of the torch from the first covenant with Abraham and then with Moses and the New Covenant that comes through Jesus. It is this covenant that brings our salvation. How do I know?
John is preaching about the Kingdom of God. Who is God? He is the I am. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob after all that is the name that Moses learns he must use to describe him. The Jews will understand him as their God who is the one God. The Romans will not recognize him at all for they like the Greeks and other cultures will be worshipping their pantheon of gods.
However, what we learn here is that God now comes into their midst.
Scripture scholars and ancient saints point out that at this moment for the first time the Holy Trinity is visible. It is like John is saying here is God and those in the know realize that He is standing right in front of them.
You have the dove which is the presence of the Holy Spirit, you have the voice of God and you have Jesus standing there in the flesh. The world has changed because now we go from understanding God as unique to the Jews and the one God to realizing God is beyond our imagination God is three persons who form one God and they are standing right in front of us.
It is this moment that Jesus enters to manifest the full presence of God and it is this moment that is manifested to each of you when you were baptized.
Let us focus on that moment. Jesus is baptized, a dove descends upon him and God’s voice is heard. However, most people do not understand God’s voice elsewhere is written that people thought they heard thunder. Did they recognize the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove? Probably not.
How about your own baptism, what did you see water? Oil, candle, baptismal dress what did they appear to you to be? Water, oil, candle, baptismal dress but we know that there was more than that happened. The same Holy Spirit that manifested himself at Jesus’ Baptism, that came down upon the Apostles, came down upon you.
Why did you not see him? Why when I do a baptism after Mass will we not see this powerful light appear and why do we not see it at every baptism. Why is all we see is the oil, the water, the vestment, the candle? Why do we not see anything else?
Because, if we saw the power of the Holy Spirit we would be focused on what we see and not on the transformation that happens within us. We have to discover the latter within ourselves. Once we discover it, we have to stand within it and move about in our world.
Look what is happening in our world today. Many literally are worried about whether or not we are seeing the end of the world approaching. Why are they looking out there for the signs which may or may not mean anything and not look within to the same holy spirit that manifested himself at your baptism? To the same father who adopted you and to the same son who redeemed your flesh as his flesh was baptized.
This day, especially as we look into the beginning of the first Ordinary time season allows us to see that we have been given the seeds of inner transformation at our baptism and we can allow those seeds to grow and transform us that like Jesus we grow in wisdom and grace. This allows us to understand and to act differently than those who do not understand.
We are in challenging times where our acting different is essential.
We are not called to be civil, we must be holy and when we are not civil we can ask not what is our lack of civility all about but look for its roots in our lack of holiness.
I am not talking about being nice to others in the name of Jesus, I am talking about taking our most difficult pains and disappointments and frustrations and anger to God in prayer because they form our humanity and like Jesus who brings his human body to baptism so we bring our human struggles to God himself and we draw our strength upon them.
At your baptism, the Holy Trinity came upon you and what is called the indwelling of the Trinity began. That experience enters into every aspect of your humanity and we have a calling through prayer to draw upon our union with God so that we may act in the wisdom of God that leads us to holiness.
We have a special gift that the Lord came into our lives and can draw upon it. Cast away from you any form of understanding that God is waiting for you to become a certain type of person before he dwells within you. He entered into you at your baptism, Father, Son and Holy Spirit became a force of life and wisdom within you. Be aware of that wisdom and seek it.
What is happening in our world today? Those who no longer draw on the wisdom are leading the charge for something. They do know where they are going because they have no understanding of what is within them. We have a duty to draw upon the indwelling of the Holy Trinity that came upon us at our baptism so that we may be a source of grace and peace to others.
God dwells within us and seeks for us to hear him guide us. Seek that voice from within and ignore that cackling that is without.
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