Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Baptism of the Lord Year B

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts.

So much has happened in the life of Christ from last week to this week.
Tradition tells us that Jesus was baptized when he was around 30 years old.

This week we move from the scene of the Magi bringing gifts to the new born King which we commemorated last week to the banks of the Jordon River where Jesus "comes to the water" and steps up to begin his ministry.

We know precious little about the 30 years the baptism...

We know as a boy he left his family and wanted to begin preaching to the priests in the temple.

We know that when he was found by his anxious parents that he remained obedient to Mary and Joseph and returned home with them.

We know that Joseph died during those years after having passed on to Jesus his profession as a carpenter.

We know that Jesus lived in Nazareth, a kind of rough and tumble town, and that he lived a "normal" life working to support Mary his mother.

The scriptures tell us that during this time he grew in wisdom and knowledge.

It follows then that during these thirty year Jesus was a man of prayer trying with his whole heart to discern God’s will and live it.

When John came Jesus was moved by his preaching.
And through the Ministry of John Jesus understood that it was time.
It was time to follow God’s will and begin his public ministry.

That day was a day he always knew would come.
It was a day He had probably reflected on over and over again.
It was a day that he probably faced with a whole range of emotions.
There must have been some fear, and sadness, anticipation and excitement.
It was a day of decision... "it's God's will,
it's time, I'm ready."

By being baptized Jesus identified himself with the poor, with broken.
Even though he had no sin he identified himself with us.
He walked down the road to the Jordan River with the broken, with the poor,
He walk down the road with sinners and with saints.

He stood in line with them.
He waited with them like he will wait with us with us...

Just like he walked down the road to the Jordan River like he walks down the road of life with us.

And his work began.

There are many things for us to ponder on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord especially for preparing to take their place in the world like Jesus did.

Before he began his mission Jesus needed and developed an interior life.
This was no small task. It took a long time.
He lived a private life, which lasted thirty years.
Depending on which Gospel you read Jesus' mission lasted between 1 and 3 years…
that is a ratio of training to ministry was either 30 – 1 or 30 to 3.
If we followed that ratio today you would have to be in College 200 years to work 20 Yikes...

Our time in college is a time of preparation it is a time which we dedicate ourselves.….to learning and getting the skills to assume our place in the world.

It is such a noble task to study, to prepare, to learn... so that we can leave our mark
and make our contribution...

Yes it is so important to learn the skills we need in our professions.
but it is also so important to develop an interior life like Jesus did in Nazareth.

This time in college should be a time of going deeper...
It is so important that we develop a thoughtful life
a reflective life, a life of meaning and purpose.

Since we came to Catholic how much time have we dedicated to developing an interior life?

Yes we have to learn the professional skills we need to be nurses and Architects and businessmen and even politicians.

But if we are to follow our destiny we have to learn how to be men and women of God.

We have to be open to God’s word, God’s will and God’s plan.

What a tragedy to be the world’s best engineer...
but miss the husband or wife that God had planned for us because we were not in the habit of listening to God’s will.

What a tragedy to be to be a great politician...
and miss the mission or task which God need us to accomplish because we had no interior life and never learned what was really important.

Jesus understood that whatever he did had to be rooted in God’s will and the power of the Spirit..

In an addition to an interior life we need to develop the discipline to follow God's will without counting the cost.

We have to be willing to follow pay the price of love.
This is really counter cultural.
How often does our obedience depend on what is comfortable to us.

For Jesus following God’s will involved leaving the things and people which gave him comfort probably great comfort.

For all that we know Jesus had a good life in Nazareth.
He had his way of living, His routine.
He had the comfort of his mother and friends and relatives.
He made a good living.

Yet because of God’s call He leaves all that is familiar to him.

How many times… have we said
I’ll follow God’s inspiration as long as it doesn’t cost me too much?
As long as I don’t have to leave my comfort zone

If there is one thing that is clear on every page of the scriptures and in the lives of the Saints..

Love has a great price
Are we ready to pay it.

And finally
There is one more lesson which John the Baptist teaches us..

Somehow some way from all of the thousands of people who were coming forward to be baptized John recognized Jesus.

How did he recognize him ?
Maybe he knew for a while who Jesus was...
maybe the Holy Spirit inspired him at that moment.

How often has Christ presented himself to us ,
In the instruction of our parents... or the good advice of a friend and
we either missed it or refused to accept his presence?

What a profound tragedy to miss or refuse the very presence of God in our lives

And so dear ones
As you prepare to find your place…
To make your contribution
To live the wonderful life that God has gives you…

Let us strive to develop, our interior lives.
Let us be reflective and look for meaning and purpose in our lives.

Let us be discern God’s will and obedient to it even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.
Let us be willing to pay the price of love.

Let us be very sensitive to the presence of God.

These are some to the lessons, which the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordon offers us
Let us be attentive.


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