OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:
“You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.” These are the words that echoed from heaven after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at the River Jordan. These are the very words that enlivened Jesus in his whole ministry.
In Jesus’ baptism, we can identify three movements that took place in this life-giving scene, namely: Jesus’ Baptism, the Promise He received and the Mission he had to fulfil. Incidentally, we too can learn and even adopt these movements into our own day to day life journey towards God.
Jesus’ Baptism. This baptism signifies the inauguration of His public ministry. He takes upon the role of the Prophet who proclaims and gives witness to the truth; the Priest who sanctifies and intercedes to the Father for us; and the King who introduces a new and nobler role of a king, that is, to be a Servant-Leader to all. When we were baptized we did not only become heirs and members of God’s family, but also sharers in the threefold functions of Christ. We too are called to become prophets, priests and servant-leaders of our present time.
The Promise. This promise became the fulcrum of Jesus’ life and ministry. The words that echoed from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you,” became the source of life and inspiration of Jesus. This promise too was given in our baptism. It will perpetually remain so, especially if we remain in Him.
The Mission. Only after Jesus’ baptism and being assured of God’s undying love and favor did Jesus embark for His mission. His first mission brought him to the desert to be tempted by the devil. We know that armed by the Spirit and assured of God’s promise of love, He overcame the devil’s temptations. We too have been assured of the same promise of unconditional love and favor. Thus, let us face the mission we are called to with much faith and strength amidst difficulties and temptations. Be a witness of God’s unconditional love today and always. (Frt. Flavie L. Villanueva, SVD Bible Diary 2006)
Mahatma Gandhi loved to put on loincloth and loved to fast from food even to the point of death. This is his unique way of showing his solidarity with his poor people and to identify with them in their suffering.
In our gospel today, Jesus allowed Himself to be baptized in order to show His solidarity with us His people and to be one like us in all things but sin. Yes, He freely chose to be baptized to identify Himself with our need for forgiveness and with our longing for redemption.
Jesus, and Gandhi after Him, both had strong sense of solidarity with their suffering people. By our baptism, we become members of God’s chosen people. In a way, Jesus is calling our attention to what we must do to live a meaningful life in this dog-eat-dog world and to leave it a better place to live in.
Like our Lord, we must help the poor and the oppressed and must exert great effort to alleviate their burdens, either by passive means of prayer and fasting or by active means of non-violent protest.
As followers of Christ, we now ask ourselves: How far have we really indentified ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters? How far are we willing to go to do good works for them and serve them?
Jesus did not just say, “I am among you as one who serves.” He really served His brothers and sisters to the point of giving His life for them. He actually died for them. Are we really serving the needs of our brothers and sisters as our Lord did? Are we dying a thousand little deaths in ourselves so that others may live? (Fr. fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
See Today’s Readings: Year I, Year II
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