Homily for the feast of the Baptism of our Lord - Year C - Lk. 3:15...22


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, « I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. »


"Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, « Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased. »"




Homily:


"As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, « I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. »"


Today, we attend a really exceptional event of the life of the Lord: he is going to meet John Baptist and be baptized by him! What could be the significance of such a meeting? If we can discover a sense of the baptism of the Lord, it remains in the fact of this meeting between the Christ and John Baptist. Jesus, indeed, did not need baptism: he is without sin, he is the one who is holy and pure by Essence, being the very Son of God. Therefore, the important fact to consider in this episode of the life of Lord is his meeting with John, the Baptist!


Saint Luke says to us: "All men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ." Why? Because John made what Christ alone might make: "to baptize"! Through baptism indeed, the person who is baptized could receive the remission of all his sins. Now, only God may forgive sins. Baptism is unique to Christ, and to him alone. That is why, under the moving of the Holy Spirit, the people asked if the one whom they saw baptizing was perhaps the Christ, the one whom God sent in his Name in order to announce the Good News of Salvation!


"« I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. »"


John the Baptist knows it: he acts, he baptizes as he was the Christ, the one whom he waits for with all the people, the one of whom he prepares the coming in the world! John the Baptist knows that the Christ will baptize: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." John the Baptist follows the Holy Spirit who does not leave him, because he was sanctified before his birth. John the Baptist always remained faithful to this very special grace which was in him!


John the Baptist follows the Holy Spirit who guides him. He baptizes like the Christ. He acts before all the people as if he was the Christ, in order to announce to all that the days are near, that the hour is imminent when the Christ in person would manifest himself to the world! The Christ is coming soon: John the Baptist announces it to his contemporaries, baptizing as if he was the Christ in person!


"Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened."


Behold the Mystery of this day is unveiled! "All the people were baptized, and Jesus also had been baptized." Jesus wanted to become only one thing with his people, the People of God! If John baptized, it was to become only one thing with the Christ, acting in such a manner as if he was the Christ in person. If the Christ was baptized by John, it was in order to become only one thing with the people. He desires to save the people at all costs, carrying on himself all the sins of his people that he chose. This is the Mystery of today: the union of Christ and his people, the union of Christ and the Church, the new People of God on earth! Behold also the Mystery of the baptism which we have received: the union to Christ in the love of God!


"The Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, « Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased. »"


Baptism is indeed the sacrament of the union to Christ in the love of God! As soon as the Christ was baptized by John, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit bodily appeared descending on Jesus! The Father revealed then his presence saying overtly: « Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.»


What a Mystery! It is the Mystery of our baptism! The Father loves us in his beloved Son, by the strength of the Holy Spirit! Now, today, we have to answer faithfully to this love daily to the end of our life! The Love of God is all-powerful: let us allow ourselves to be attracted by him! Do not resist the strength which is in us by the sacrament of our baptism! Move toward Jesus! Let us answer to his love by receiving him with dignity in the Eucharist! Let us ask Mary to help us on this sometimes difficult way of the life in God!



To order the weekly homily immediately, click here