+ First Sunday after Epiphany +
The Baptism of our Lord
January 9, 2011
“He will bring forth justice to the nations!” Mishpat l'goyim yotzi! Isaiah 42:1
Why do people behave as they do? What determines their choices? We are subject to so many influences: amateur and professional sports, mass-media lies and propaganda, advertising, television programs and commercials, demands of family, expectations of friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. I have one more question today:
Does the Word of God, the Word made Flesh, and the Body of Christ created by that Word have any place among the answers to this question?
Why do people behave as they do? What determines their choices? If anything we heard in today’s lessons is true, and we still believe in truth, I certainly hope so! Luther thought so when he concluded his explanations of the Apostles’ Creed by saying: This is most certainly true. The Church thinks so when it invites us to proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. The Church thinks so when it invites us to celebrate the annual commemoration of the Baptism of our Lord and our own Holy Baptism. Jesus’ Baptism certainly set the course for His behavior and His choices, His life and ministry. As we listen to what God says about the servant in whom He delights, we receive a supernatural vision for Christian life and ministry.
1. In Baptism, God says, “I will take you by the hand and keep you”
a. Father, Son and Spirit are in this thing together
b. We don’t make this up as we go along, unless we are now in the driver’s seat – God forbid!
2. I will give you as a covenant for the people
a. I will be your God and you will be my people – the Ark of the Covenant = Jesus!
b. The new covenant in My blood for the forgiveness of sins = Eucharist
3. A light to the nations
a. To open eyes that are blind – only in Jesus Christ can we see the truth about God and ourselves.
b. To bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness – looks like freedom from debt, freedom from sexual addictions, freedom from hatred and oppression of others, freedom from lies about what constitutes happiness, freedom from fear of death.
O divine fruit of the Virgin’s womb, may I love you in union with the holy mother of God. Fill my life with the obedience of St. Joseph and the missionary fervor of the shepherds so that the witness of my life may shine like the star that led the Magi to your manger.