Homily – January 12, 2020

On this feast of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jorden River we are taken back to the time and day when we were baptised – baptised by water and the Holy Spirit and adopted by our Father as God’s sons and daughters. Because most of us were baptised as infants we have no memory of that event, when through no merit of our own God’s Holy Spirit was poured into our hearts giving us the boldness to call God – Father/Mother.

Today’s gospel tells of Jesus approaching his cousin John the Baptist to be baptized. John protests saying it should be the other way around. Jesus says, do what I ask. We don’t know how many people were around on that occasion but our scriptures tell us that as Jesus came out of the river the heavens opened and Jesus saw God’s Spirit descending like a dove over him and an approving voice saying the words,’ this is my son, the Beloved with whom I am well pleased.’

Our first reading from Isaiah tells of unknown servant who delights the soul of God and receives God’s Spirit. This unknown servant is to bring justice to the nations and he is to be a source of healing and a light to the nations and bring freedom to oppressed people. Both this unknown person and Jesus were sources of delight to God

Can we imagine, even believe that God looks of each one of us here and now and says; ‘this is my son, this is my daughter in whom I am well pleased?

They’re not perfect, they’re not faultless but they are trying. They don’t live up to their own ideals, they struggle with their own issues and they keep coming back to me for the help and strength they need. They worry about their jobs; they worry about whether they are a good father, a good mother.

They struggle with their faith in a church that has shamed them with its scandals. They worry about their health and the health of those they love and they grieve over the death of those they loved. They wonder about the future of their children and grandchildren and the diseased planet they’re leaving them.They do their best to be there for people who need their help, they do what they can to help the poor and homeless and they resist the temptations that surround them to be racist and anti-semitic.

There are many times when wonder if I even care for them or even remember them.

But it is good for us to remember, to trust this truth; God does not deal with people as faceless members of a collective. He calls, and he heals one particular person at a time, as each individual comes to him. But then we ourselves need to come to the Lord, to face him, to know him, to love him, and to let him heal us. Come as ourselves, as we are, warts and all. We are God’s and God is our well pleased Father.