Friday, January 11, 2013

Homily Baptism of the Lord Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily Baptism of the Lord Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings; Isa 42:1-4or Isa 40:1-5, 9-11; Acts 10:34-38 or Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7 and Luke 3:15-16, 21-22.

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”

These are words of God the Father at the Baptism of his Son Jesus, recorded  by the three evangelists, Mark (9:7), Matthew 3:16-71) and Luke (3:15-16, 21-22), today’s gospel reading. It reveals God’s  election and exaltation of his son. It reveals his delightfulness in his Son’s obedience acceptance of his suffering mission, as the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Ordinarily children know what to do to win the love and praises of their parents- obedience, docility, honesty,  transparent and hard work, to name but a few!

Divine and human, but sinless as he was, Jesus inaugural mission was that of solidarity with the poor,  with humans(Heb 1:5ff), with the weak and sinners by accepting baptism in the hands of John the Baptist, who was not even worthy to loosen the thongs of Jesus’ sandals.

Christ’s baptism not only reminds us of our Christian baptism, but still  the revelation and the fulfillment of those ancient and pre and exilic  promises  made to us through the mouths of the prophets, particularly Isaiah that , “the glory of  the Lord shall be revealed  and all people shall see,” Isa 40:1-5,9-11). We mean that same  glory seen from creation. That glory in the event of the liberation from Egypt,  those provisions in the wilderness and freedom from exile.

In Christ Jesus, his priestly ministry, his eating with sinners, his sharing of water with the Samaritan women, his visiting with Zachaeus, and raising of Lazarus, in his baptism, preaching, in his healing love, comfort, mercy, forgiveness and kindness, is God’s  continuous glory and grace revealed.God never abandons his faithful people from generation to generations.

And Paul in his time, talks about this saving grace in his address to Titus in the Second reading. Paul says, “The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory or  our great God and savior Jesus Christ…not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath or rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…”(Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7).

It is true that we live in a changing and challenging world of multiple forms of injustices, human trafficking, terrorism, godlessness, violent against women, children, the poor, the powerless, and the voiceless- yet we want to be conscious of that gifts of baptism which we have all shared with Christ Jesus. His grace is sufficient unto us!

With it we have been trained to be another Christ in rejecting falsehood, faithlessness, hopelessness, godlessness, and in our Christ-like relationship with our neighbors wherever we find ourselves each day, as God’s beloved sons and daughters.
When  we live like Christ, or at least make effort to imitate him, God, cannot but look at us from heaven and say, "these are my beloved sons and daughters, with  whom I am well pleased."