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“On the day of our baptism, we are immersed in the infinite love of God. It is a change that takes us to a new life.”
Readings: Baptism of the Lord
“As Jesus prayed, after being baptized, heaven opened”
“Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I find my joy.”
BAPTISM OF THE LORD
On Christmas Day we celebrated the birth of Jesus: it was manifested to the shepherds and through them to the little ones, the poor and the excluded. On the day of Epiphany last Sunday this revelation was offered to the Magi. This feast helped us to understand that Christ came also for strangers, for those who do not know God; His love is offered to all. And today it is another manifestation of the Lord that we celebrate: it is John the Baptist who shows it to us; he comes to announce the coming of the One who brings salvation to the world.
This good news was already proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah (1st reading). This text is a message of consolation for a people who come 50 years of exile in Babylon “Behold, the Lord God comes with power...” But this power is not the one believed; it does not come to avenge or to punish. This power is that of God's infinite tenderness who forgives. The Lord is there to comfort his people. His love is offered to all “Where sin has abundant, love has overabundant.” (Letter from St. Paul to the Romans It is when the Lord comes to us that we find true joy.
In his letter to Titus (2nd reading), Saint Paul tells us about the salvation offered to all men; on the day of our baptism we were immersed in the infinite love of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a radical change that takes us to a new way of life. With Jesus, a new life begins. For new converts, nothing can be the same as before. We all need to regain the strength of this! e presence of the Lord in our lives and our world.
In the gospel we find John the Baptist who announces the coming of the One who brings “comfort to the World.” “I baptize you in water, but he who is more powerful than me comes... He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). The Holy Spirit is the main craftsman of Christian baptism. He is the one who burns and destroys the sin of the world; he frees us from the domination of darkness and sin. He transfers us to the Kingdom of Light which is the Kingdom of love and peace.
This is what we discover in the baptism of Jesus. He joins this people of sinners who come to perform a gesture of penance. Both were invited to convert. Jesus had no sin to be forgiven. But if he enters the water of the Jordan, it is to join this sinful world that he has come to seek and save. He joins us at the lowest in the abyss of perdition, in the horror of our iniquity and our forfeiture. All this sin that overwhels us, he takes it upon himself to free us from it. “In fact, he makes himself in solidarity with his people.”
This event gives us a new light on the difference between the baptism of Jesus and the one we received: on the day of his baptism, Jesus was plunged into the sin of the world; he took him entirely upon himself to free us from it. For us Christians, it is the opposite: we have been immersed in this immense ocean of love which is in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We became one with God. Christian baptism gives us Christ to pass with him from death to life, from sin to holiness, from anguish to love.
It is also to each of us that the voice of the Father is heard: You are my beloved child.” This is a word that we must repeat tirelessly: we are all the Father's beloved children. He loves us all the way we are. From now on, nothing can be like before in our lives; we find a new assurance, a new way of standing and living.
It is also a responsibility: on the day of our baptism we entered into a great family called the Church; the other is also a child of God, just like me; and I must take this into account in my dealings with him. It is a call to react against violence, against misery and against all that degrades man. Much remains to be done to establish the kingdom of Christ in our villages, neighbourhoods, workplaces and recreation. We are all sent to build a reign of peace and justice, a reign of truth and love. And let everyone hear himself say, Thou art my beloved child. You are all my joy.”
May this feast on this day remind us of our baptismal commitments and renew in us the desire to remain faithful to God.
Father Pierre Dibi
Organ: At the Great Organ, Guy Didier
- Entry: “Fugue in G minor” (J.F. Dandrieu)
- Offertory: “Legend” (A. Guilmant)
- Communion: “Largo” of the Concerto in D (A. Vivaldi)
- Release: “Grand Choeur” (C. Franck)
Jean François Dandrieu
The other homilies of Father Pierre Dibi
Also read: THE FIP of the week
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