Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Scripture Readings:      Isaiah 55:1-11;    1 John 5:1-9;     Mark 1:7-11

Today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord brings us to the end of the Christmas Season.    (And you thought it was over 17 days ago)

The Baptism of Jesus marked the beginning of the public life of Jesus.  As we reflect upon the Baptism of Jesus, we are invited today to reflect on our own Baptisms.    The reminder that we belong to Christ, we are part of the Body of Christ – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

By Baptism we share in the Life, Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus.     Which reminds me of an adult who was to be Baptized by immersion.    As he stood thigh-deep in the Baptismal Pool, the pastor leaned close to him and whispered:   “Robert, when I baptize you, everything that goes under the water belongs to God.  Are you ready?”    Robert nodded and reached inside his baptismal robe, grabbing his wallet.  At each of the three plunges into the water he resolutely held his wallet high and dry above the water.

It may be a funny story, but when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, Jesus held nothing back.  Our Baptisms call us to “hold nothing back” from our Baptismal call to love God, to love others and to be faithful disciples.

Today’s Isaiah reading is a reminder that the Lord invites all people, each of us to:    come, drink, eat, listen, seek the Lord, turn to the Lord for mercy, forsake evil, and turn to God, who is generous in forgiving.

Like Jesus, we are God’s beloved sons and daughters.  But this is meant to be more than a title.  Like Jesus, our lives are meant to witness each day to our Baptism, our faith, our God.  We cannot say things like, “Sunday is for God, but the rest of the week is for business, politics, or pleasure.”  We need to integrate what we profess to believe with what we do every day.  How is our love of God, of others, our being disciples of the Lord, clearly evident for all to see?

Finally, Baptism is both – about each of us and about all of us.   We live our faith not only as a person, but we also live our faith together.  Together we are called to take up the responsibility for the work of the Gospel in 2015 for our community and for each other.     There is no “them” among us the Baptized, only “us” and “we.”

May those we Baptize today and tomorrow “hold nothing back” in living their Baptismal faith, in living their love of God and others, in living lives that witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May those we Baptize today and tomorrow do so – because parents, family, friends, and the Church community (all people of faith) do more than talk about Baptism or being Catholic, but live their Baptismal faith daily and “hold nothing back.”