Homily for the Baptism of the Lord, Luke, Cycle C-2016

posted Jan 8, 2016, 12:44 PM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 8, 2016, 12:44 PM by Michelle Massung ]

            Before I entered the seminary I worked as a salesperson selling high-end computers and related equipment, software, and consulting services. As part of my job, I would meet with various executives within a company and discuss their various business problems. Then it was up to me and my sales team to convince them that I could solve their business problems with my computer technology. This sales process often took a long time; months or in some cases over a year to convince them to trust me and my company. One of the resources I used to convince them to trust me was to use references. A reference was another company that I had successfully solved their business problem. In using a reference, I hoped that the company I was selling to would not just believe me and my message but would believe somebody else. In this way I was able to have the company I was trying to sell to trust me and my sales team.

            Why is this story important for today? Well from the beginning of Advent, over six weeks ago, we were told by many people to prepare for the coming of the Lord and once he was born, we were called to praise and worship him above all other things in our lives. However, as with my customers, we too may be a little skeptical in believing all these people. For example during Advent we heard quite a bit from the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist to repent and to change our lives as a way of preparing for the birth of the baby Jesus. Next we see how the Angels appeared to Mary and Joseph and how they were asked to do God's will rather than their own will in their lives. And then we witnessed how blessed they were for doing so. Then after the baby Jesus was born, we heard how the shepherds and the three wise men visited Jesus and as a result their lives were transformed.  Now today we hear from God himself who observes Jesus being baptized and is greatly pleased by his actions. My point is, if we haven't changed our lives as a result of the words of Isaiah and John the Baptist, or Mary and Joseph, or the shepherds and the Magi, we at least ought to listen to the voice of God the Father and follow in the words and example of Jesus. 

            The focus of today's gospel is not whether or not Jesus needed to be baptized. The focus is that he wanted to be baptized to be an example for all of us that want to participate in the relationship between the father and the son out of love by the Holy Spirit.  In the Jewish faith, if a person wanted to repent, to turn their lives back to God, they would ask to be baptized in water.  It was very similar to our sacrament of reconciliation.  However, if Jesus had no sin, then why did he feel it was necessary for him to be baptized?  Because in getting baptized, Jesus made a public display or example that he was dedicating is life to God.  Although we consider the wedding feast at Cana to be the start of his public ministry, I consider his Baptism to be his first dedication of his life to God.

            In our own baptism, our parents and Godparents dedicate our lives to God and promise to raise us accordingly. Today, Christ is making a new beginning and we are all called to do the same.  In the next few weeks, we will be part of Christ’s life here on earth.  We will get to know him, see him grow and develop his ministry, and hopefully we will grow closer to him.  We may even fall in love with him.  Then we will unite ourselves with him and strip away what keeps us from being with him and share in his suffering and death.  God has told us today that Jesus is his son and we are to listen to him.  Today, when Jesus talks to you, be prepared to listen and do what he tells you.  God has given you the assurance that all will go well for you if you do.