Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, marking the beginning of the period after Christmas season, the Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent seasons. Today’s feast is significant because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, at the approximate age of thirty, many years after He was born as a Child in Bethlehem, which is the focus of our Christmas celebrations, and three years before He was to be crucified and died, which is the focus of our Lenten preparation for the Holy Week celebrations.

In our own baptism, when we were conferred the very first of the seven Holy Sacraments of the Church, we were cleansed by the holy water and made to be worthy of God, washed away from the taints of our original sins, from all the past wrongdoings that we have committed, and we were accepted to be members of God’s Holy Church, and consequently, we become God’s own adopted children.

If we look at what happened that day at the River Jordan, when Jesus came towards St. John the Baptist, asking to be baptised by him, then it must have been very weird indeed, and His actions must have been incomprehensible to us. In fact, that was exactly why St. John the Baptist himself was stunned by such a request, as he himself said that he was the one who should have been baptised by Jesus.

But the Lord rebuked him and said that they should proceed according to His wish, as everything has to be fulfilled in accordance to what the Lord has revealed through His prophets. And thus, Jesus was baptised in the waters of the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist, and then heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended down upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father sounded clearly, “This is My Son, My Beloved. My favour rests upon Him.”

Why did He do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because our own baptism is a reflection of Christ’s own baptism at the Jordan, and through baptism, all of us have been made God’s own adopted sons and daughters as I have just mentioned earlier. And at the moment when Jesus was baptised, the Father revealed that He is His Son, and because He share with us our humanity, having assumed the flesh of Man and born of His mother, Blessed ever Virgin Mary, all of us mankind now have become His own brothers and sisters.

And we have been sealed in the Name of the Holy Trinity, of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit at the moment of our baptism, the moment when our live was changed forever, be it that we were baptised as babies and infants through the guidance of the faith of our parents, or whether we were baptised after we have reached adulthood and voluntarily chose to accept the Lord Jesus as our God and Saviour.

Therefore, today let us all recall the moment of our own baptism. If we cannot remember what happened, then at least we should remember the day when we were baptised and reflect on the fact that we have been so fortunate so as to receive from God an adoption as a son or as a daughter. We are so fortunate that He has willingly forgiven us from our sins and loved us so dearly that He gave us the means for our salvation and liberation from the tyranny of sin and death, by none other than the gift of His beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us all then remember what is it that we have been called to as Christians, through our baptism, that we make use of the gifts that God has given each and every one of us. We should devote ourselves, our mind, heart, body and everything we have, to serve God and His people, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, members of God’s beloved and holy Church, that we proclaim His glory and Good News, through our words and more importantly, through our actions.

Therefore, let us all continue to strengthen our faith in God, and resolve to live our lives faithfully, in accordance with His ways. Let us no longer walk in the path of sin and wickedness, but instead, resolve to remain true to our promises made at the time of our baptism, that we will keep ourselves pure and free from sin, and committed to live day after day, as worthy of God, our loving Father. May God bless us all. Amen.

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