Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2008

Reflection for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

baptism

Baptism of the Lord
13 January 2008

Readings (Year A)

Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7
Psalm
Acts 10:34-38
Matthew 3:13-17

A Thought for the day …

The speaker starts a well-attended seminar by holding up a new crisp twenty dollar bill.  “I want to give this away”, he says, “but first let me do this”. Then he proceeds to crumple up the money.  “Who wants it now?” he asks.  Many hands were raised.  He drops the money on to the floor and grinds it into the floor with his shoe.  When he holds it up again the bill is crumpled and dirty.  “Who wants it now?” he asks again.  The same hands go up.

“My friends you have learned a very valuable lesson”, he tells them.  “No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth twenty dollars.  Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground down by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.  We may feel as though we are worthless.  But no matter what has happened or what will happen, we will never lose our value in God’s eyes.  To God, dirty or clean, crumpled or new and crisp, we are always priceless”.

In the gospel today Jesus is baptised in the river Jordan.  It is a confirmation of his vocation as a human being.  His father’s voice from heaven speaks and says: “You are my Son, the Beloved: my favour rests on you”.  It says quite clearly that it is a favour that is not for a short term but it abides.  God says the same to each one of us.  “You are my beloved child.  My favour rests on you always”.  So no matter what we think of ourselves or how we feel because of past sins or failings or present weaknesses, God is speaking with authority to assure us of his love and choice that we are his beloved children.

God does not take back his gifts.  At any time we can discover or rediscover the grace of our baptism.  Sinners can turn away from sins; the lukewarm can become enthused and Christians can become great saints. As we remember all that the Lord has done for us, it is time for us to ask: what have we done for him? Let us resolve to be true to our baptismal calling, to live in solidarity with Jesus Christ, as he lived and died in solidarity with us.

Fr Jim Kirstein sma
Blackrock Road
Cork