Sunday, 12 January 2020 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 3 : 13-17

At that time, Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan, to be baptised by Him. But John tried to prevent Him, and said, “How is it, You come to me? I should be baptised by You!”

But Jesus answered him, “Let it be like that for now; so that we may fulfil the right order.” John agreed.

As soon as He was baptised, Jesus came up out of the water. All at once, the heavens opened and He saw the Spirit of God come down, like a Dove, and rest upon Him. At the same time, a voice from heaven was heard, “This is My Son, the Beloved; He is My Chosen One.”

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.

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 1 : 7-11

John preached to the people, saying, “After me comes One Who is more powerful than I am; I have baptised you with water, but He will baptise you in the Holy Spirit.”

At that time, Jesus came from Nazareth, a town of Galilee, and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And the moment He came up out of the water, heaven opened before Him, and He saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove.

And these words were heard from heaven, “You are My Son, the Beloved, the One I have chosen.”

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 28 : 1-4, 9-10

Give the Lord, o sons of God, give the Lord glory and strength, give the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in great liturgy.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over vast waters. How powerful is the voice of the Lord, how splendorous is the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord makes the oaks shudder, the Lord strips the forests bare, and in His Temple all cry, “Glory!” Over the flood the Lord was sitting; the Lord is King and He reigns forever.

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 42 : 1-4, 6-7

Here is My Servant Whom I uphold, My Chosen One in Whom I delight. I have put My Spirit upon Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He does not shout or raise His voice, proclamations are not heard in the streets. A broken reed He will not crush, nor will He snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear in truth.

He will not waver or be broken until He has established justice on earth; the islands are waiting for His law. I, YHVH, have called You for the sake of justice; I will hold Your hand to make You firm; I will make You as a Covenant to the people, and as a Light to the nations, to open eyes that do not see, to free captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness.

Alternative reading

Acts 10 : 34-38

Peter then spoke to Cornelius and his family, “Truly, I realise that God does not show partiality, but in all nations He listens to everyone who fears God and does good. And this is the message He has sent to the children of Israel, the Good News of peace He has proclaimed through Jesus Christ, Who is the Lord of all.”

“No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him.”

Sunday, 10 January 2016 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ, the time which is usually associated with the ending of the Christmas season, or Christmastide, although in some traditional celebrations, the season of Christmas does not end until the second day of February, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, following a forty day period for Christmas.

On this day, we commemorate that moment, when Christ began His earthly ministry, to begin the works which He had been born into this world for, that is to herald and bring about salvation to all mankind, and to liberate them from their sins and from the chains of wickedness, evil, sin and death. It was at that moment of His baptism that He officially began His earthly ministry, and this is truly important to all of us as well in its meaning.

This is also the model of our Church’s sacrament of holy baptism, the first of the seven sacraments and the first one that a believer, either as a baby or as a catechumen deciding to follow the Lord, must receive, before he or she would be able to receive the other sacraments, such as the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Most Holy Eucharist, Penance or that of the Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders.

It was through baptism that a faithful is welcomed into the Church of God, and through baptism, the faithful was sealed with the seal of the Living God, and became one with all the other members of the Church, adopted as God’s children and become partakers of God’s plan of salvation and in His everlasting kingdom of joy and happiness. Without baptism, the state of our souls will continue to be in limbo and darkness.

Just as Christ was immersed in the waters of the Jordan, we too have been immersed in the water during our baptism. Water itself has many symbolic meanings, the most common of which is its purifying capacity, where water cleanses things that are dirty and corrupted, and washes away all dirt and unpleasant things. It is also a symbol of life, since water is crucial for life, and absolutely no life could have existed in the absence of water.

And thus, as we were immersed in the water during our reception of the Sacrament of Baptism, we were also purified from the taints of our past sins, the wickedness and corruptions of sin that had been with us, and by the holy water blessed and made pure by the hands of the priests, the Lord Jesus had made us all whole again in body and in spirit, just as He had once healed the lepers, the sick and the dying.

And water can also bring death, as we have seen how water can be so destructive in occurrences such as tsunamis, floods and various other forces of water that brought death and misery, just as it can also bring life, and indeed is essential for life. Thus, the waters of baptism symbolised that death which all of us ought to share in the Lord, that through this sharing with His death, we may also have a share in His glorious resurrection.

Yes, the waters of baptism is a symbol of the death and the end of our old life on earth, in our commitment to abandon and reject sin and Satan in all of its forms, and by dying to this old life, as St. Paul had mentioned, we left behind all of the attachments, the bonds and the chains that kept us in our old ways and which had prevented us from attaining God’s salvation and grace.

The baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Jordan is a symbol for us all to remember, for even though He Himself was different, as He was without any taint of sin, and yet He chose to lower Himself and be immersed in the Jordan, and baptised by His servant John the Baptist, but through that action, we should now be able to understand clearly what our Lord had intended for us to do with our own lives.

Before the Lord Jesus was baptised, since the day when He was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in a stable, His parents had cared for Him very well, both His mother Mary, as well as His foster father St. Joseph. And He was brought up in Nazareth, the village where His family lived in, and where He Himself grew up as all men did, and He grew both in knowledge, wisdom and strength, and in the favour in the sight of God.

And as His father St. Joseph was a hardworking carpenter, and considering the fact that sons normally followed in the footsteps of their fathers, it was likely that Jesus was perhaps once a carpenter too, or at least that He knew how to handle things as His foster father had done. And so, He likely dealt with things and matters of the world such as crafting furnitures and other wooden objects.

Yet, when He was baptised by John at the Jordan, that was the moment when all was revealed regarding Jesus, His true nature and His mission on earth. And afterward, He began His ministry, tending to the sick, both in body and in spirit, and He blessed many people, fed them, and gave them the Good News of God through His own words.

And in the end, He carried up the cross that was burdened with all of our sins and iniquities, and He bore all these up with Him as He ascended the hill of Calvary, stretched up between the heavens and the earth, and He gave up His own life, as a perfect and fitting sacrifice to serve as the absolution and the forgiveness for all the multitudes of our sins and their effects.

In all these, we have to realise that the story of our Lord Jesus from His baptism to His death on the cross is actually the example of our own Christian life, of how we are all expected to live out our lives in faith. We who have received the gift of baptism should therefore go forth and do as the Lord Himself had done, loving one another, forgiving those who have done bad things to us, praying even for our enemies and for those who persecute us, as well as other things that He had commanded us all to do.

This is what we need to do, and this is what we should indeed do as those who call themselves as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and wholeheartedly follow His laws and commandments, so that in everything that we say and do, we will always be faithful, and bring glory to our Lord and God. May God bless us all and keep us in His grace, now and forever. Amen.

Sunday, 10 January 2016 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 3 : 15-16, 21-22

At that time, the people were wondering about John’s identity, “Could He be the Messiah?” Then John answered them, “I baptise you with water, but the One Who is coming will do much more : He will baptise you with Holy Spirit and fire. As for me, I am not worthy to untie His sandal.”

Now, with all the people who came to be baptised, Jesus too was baptised. Then, while He was praying, the heavens opened : the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the bodily form of a Dove, and a Voice from Heaven was heard, “You are My Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”