Monday, January 11, 2016

Baptism of the Lord January 9, 2016 Austin, TX

In the opening of today’s Gospel we hear:  The people were filled with expectation,”         Hmmm.  Expectations.  
          Do you have expectations?   Maybe you have expectations for the up-coming primaries?   Maybe you have expectations for Pope Francis in 2016?  I know I do.  Or perhaps you have expectations for your job, for a promotion, or for your boss to retire, or for a bonus?   Do you have hopes for your child to finally settle down, get married and start a family?   Expectations for an upcoming trip or vacation?   Maybe you are filled with expectation for the NEXT Star Wars movie?????  Will Luke Skywalker come back?   [I’ve said too much already.]
          We, as a Christian community, have expectations.   We have expectations for ourselves individually, for all of us together, and for all creation, all that ever was. 
          And we do not have any small expectations.  We have BIG expectations.
          In the second reading today from St Paul to Timothy, we heard He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, …, [in other words, Baptism] so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”
            Heirs … of eternal life.   That is what we expect.   Eternal life is not life that just goes on and on and on and on and oh so boringly on.   No!   Eternal life is full life, complete life.  It is to be more wondrously alive than you have ever been before.  It is more life every instant than you have ever experienced at any time in your life.  It’s FANTASTIC!
          That is our expectation, and it is a great one.  We Christians have had great expectations long before Chuck Dickens ever thought of the phrase.  So therefore we are the people today’s Gospel is speaking of:  The people were filled with expectation,”    That is us folks. 
          Now I want to take the focus off of us for a while and turn the spotlight on Jesus.   Jesus had been baptized and was praying, 
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. 
And a voice came from heaven,  “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
           So how did Jesus feel when He heard this voice?  What do you think?   Did He think he was hearing things?   Man, I should not have had that fifth glass of wine last night.   Or did Jesus get scared?  I mean if I heard a voice from the heavens it would spoke me out.         How did Jesus feel?  What was his reaction?    //
          When you have heard from someone you care about deeply, someone you love even more than you love yourself, when he or she tells you that they love you and are well pleased with you, how do you feel?  
          How would any son or daughter react to being told by a beloved parent or grandparent that the child is beloved, and the parent is well pleased with them? 
          How would you react if your beloved Mother or Father said,  “Good job.  I am so proud of you!” 
          Well, we should know.  Because in our Baptism that is what God the Father says to each of us.  We did not get the special effects of a voice from heaven, but we got the reality of it.  In fact, that is what God said to us, and continues to say to us.
          When you were baptized God the Father said to you, “You are my beloved child.”  God claimed you for God’s own.  Then, by joining you to the body of His Son Jesus, God the Father declared to you and about you, “with you I am well pleased.”  

God the Father delights in having you as His son or daughter.  In you God the Father is well pleased. 
          Our great hope, our great expectation, is based on the great love that God has for you and you and you and each of us.  We become God’s Children by adoption through the fabulous Sacrament of Baptism.  By adoption as God’s own beloved children we also gain an inheritance.  Nothing that will corrode or could be stolen or lost, but an imperishable inheritance of life.  Full, complete, total life.  Eternal life. 

          Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we also reflect on the magnificent treasure we have been given in the Sacrament of our Baptism.  It is altogether fitting that we should do so.  We are God’s beloved children.  In us God is well pleased.   We live in expectation of yet greater and fuller life.   Happy Feast Day!

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