The Baptism of the Lord

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from The Baptism of the Lord: CLICK HERE!

The last few words in the second reading today from the Acts of the Apostles got my attention this week: “He [Jesus] went about doing good and healing… for God was with Him”.

How was God with YOU this past week?  How was God with the people you interacted with this past week?

A priest by the name of Father  Ron (Holheiser) shared that one year after preaching on the Baptism of Jesus, he shared, in his homily that the words: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” are words that God speaks over us, every day of our lives.

After Mass a young man who heard his homily, was very distraught by the priest’s words.  Said Fr. Ron, “the man had not been to church for some time and was only in church that day, because he had pleaded guilty to a crime that week and was awaiting sentencing, and was soon to go to prison.”

Seems Fr. Ron’s homily struck a painful cord inside him…

First of all the man had trouble believing that God, or anyone else, loved him.  Second, and even more painful, the man believed that nobody had ever been pleased or delighted with him.

This man had never been blessed.   Small wonder he was about to go to prison.

Father Ron recalled how different his own family experience was, “when I left home at age 17 [to enter the Seminary], my parents blessed me.  They made me kneel down on the old linoleum floor in the kitchen, placed their hands on my head, and prayed a blessing.”

In effect they were saying, we love you.  We trust you.  We are proud of you and we send you off with our full spirit.  You are our beloved child and in you we are well pleased.

Said Fr. Ron, “I suspect that if the young man I spoke with had been blessed in the same way by his parents, or by anyone else significant to him, he would not have been on his way to prison.”

Much of that inner longing we have, much of that emptiness we feel at times may well be a hunger for blessing.  Many people today (maybe many, many more than we think), have never had anyone take delight or pleasure in them for any good reason.

Unfortunately, there are no baptisms this weekend on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in our Parish.  Nonetheless, there is a part of the ritual for Baptism where, I and the parents and God Parents, bless the child to be baptized with the sign of the cross.  (I have even had everyone present do this in a small setting)

When I meet with parents and we speak about the baptism of their child, I always say the same thing to them: you do not have to be a priest to bless people…  God knows, if people can curse people everyday, then we can bless people everyday, including our children.

 There is a doctor I know who blesses his children every night.

The moral of our stories this week is parents bless your children in word and action often/daily!

As sons and daughters of God, may we bless the people we interact with every day in word and actions and know that God and others bless each of us daily.  may we open our whole being to receiving these blessings every day.

This unusual weather (this winter weekend 50’s plus) got me thinking about the best golf movie ever: “Caddy Shack” and the scene where Chevy Chase (who plays Ty Webb) says to the Teen-Caddy, Danny Noonan, about playing golf and hitting the golf ball, “Danny, see the ball, be the ball…”

Maybe in the parlance of faith and today’s scriptures, we are being reminded too as sons and daughter of God to see the opportunities for blessing.  To be the blessing to one and all, every day.