Baptism of the Lord
A Homily - Cycle C -
by Rev. Luke Dundon
First Reading - Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 9-10
Second Reading - Acts 10:34-38
Gospel - Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
Luke writes to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.
The people were filled with expectation, and all went asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
So, the Redskins aren't going to the Super Bowel . . . but we're proud of 'em, we still love 'em . . .
Just like my Dad loved me when I played on the 5th grade soccer team. I was so proud of him serving in the Navy. And so I wanted Him to be proud of me too. And that would happen. Playing soccer on the team called the "pistons". WINNING at soccer!
Unfortunately my team was less "pistons" and more "bad news bears." I got sick of playing. Why bother playing when you could never win? But I wanted Dad to be proud of me. And here, playing soccer, I think I could DO that . . . if we'd just win a game!
There was one game I wasn't supposed to go to, doctor's appointment. or something . . . but it turns out I COULD make it . . . and this was an easy team! So I WENT! We played a hard-fought team! Dad came home from work that night . . . how'd the day go? Good . . . I made the game! A big smile spread across Dad's face . . . how did the score go? Uh . . 8 to 2 . . . their 8, our 2. I expected the smile to wear off . . . but instead the smile grew even broader, as he said, "I'm so proud of you . . . you didn't win, but you went anyway!" Dad WAS proud of me . . . winning wasn't needed, showing up was enough!
Showing up was certainly important on my first day at the Naval Academy. And then those first six weeks of the "summer camp" known as Plebe Summer . . . were grueling, painful, difficult, and yet designed to form great officers . . . provided we survived! A valuable bonus along the way were the care packages we received from home. I'd receive letters from Mom and Dad, letters which gave me so much reason to hope . . . they'd encourage me in my journey, but more than anything else, they would write a common theme in all their letters - - - "no matter what happens, Luke, remember we are VERY proud of you!" They were PROUD of me, not because I won anything, not even because I showed up at Annapolis . . . they were PROUD of me, because I was their Son.
Ordination Day came, June 11th, 2011. I was giving first blessings to a countless throng of people in the basement of our cathedral, one after the other. And then, at the end of the line, came Mom and Dad, kneeling down to receive a blessing. A moment which almost defied words. Here were my mother and father, so proud, so thankful, so full of delight, not for what I did, not EVEN necessarily for who *I* was, but for who GOD was in my life, what GOD had done in me, how amazingly generous HE had been in our family by calling one of their sons to the priesthood. It was a precious gift for them, a precious reminder to all of us, how MUCH The Lord really did LOVE us . . . not because of what WE had done . . . not even because of who WE WERE . . . but because of who HE WAS, and what HE HAD DONE, through His son.
For HIS SON came to his earth and entered the waters of baptism, Jesus made holy the very waters that would open the doorway to call all the servants to eternal life. The Father's Son made possible the ADOPTION of further sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. And that adoption has occurred, since the very moment of our own baptism - - - NOT because of anything WE achieved, but because of what HE has done for us. The Father now looks upon US, EVERY ONE OF US, and says, "YOU are my beloved son. YOU are my beloved daughter. And with YOU I am so greatly pleased. For when I look upon YOU, I see my SON. REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH GOOD OR EVIL YOU HAVE DONE, when I LOOK UPON YOU, I LOVE YOU, for I SEE MY SON."
What amazing lives we now live! Knowing that Mom and Dad supported me and were proud of me, through ALL THINGS - THAT gave me motivation to grow! Knowing that our Heavenly Father is so proud of us - means one thing as this new year begins - we WILL GROW - for no one less that GOD HIMSELF is encouraging us along the way!