Baptism of the Lord
Naples Navy Base
Rev. Mr. John A. Sistare
It finally happened!!! On my way back from the US heading toward Rome, it finally happened!
I approached the check - in desk and was told that the back of the plane was full and I would be moved to the front. It didnt register then , but I soon realized that I had been bumped up!!!
I was upgraded to 1st class! Bumped up!
Now, let me tell you something. Its a whole new world up there! I come from a small middle class family and this is something new to me. They have instructions on just how to use the seat! The foot rest goes up, the back becomes a recliner. Theres even your own video screen, from which you can watch about 4 different movies. Then theres the meal, which takes about 3 hours! They set a place for you with your own salt and pepper shakers and then ask what you would like for dinner and to drink. It was a whole new world up there. In fact, this may have been the only time that I wished the flight was longer!
Today we celebrate the baptism of the Lord. Look what the Gospel says! Jesus came out of the water, the sky was rent in two, the Holy Spirit came upon him and the Father then said, "This is my beloved Son." Keep this in mind, because this will shed light on our own baptism. Now, why in the world did Jesus get baptized? He was without sin, so he didnt need to be washed clean. In his humility, he begins his public ministry and actually sanctifies the water. He purifies the water for our baptism!
Do you remember your baptism? Most of us were probably little babies and dont remember it.
At our baptism, we were bumped up! We were upgraded! We became 1st class so to speak!
The feast of the baptism of the Lord sheds light on the meaning of our own baptism. First of all Jesus came out of the water. We too came out of the water. Most of us had a pouring of water, but in the early Church as well as even today, some are immersed, plunged right in! Just as Christ died and rose on the third day, so we die and rise on the third plunge or pouring-Father, Son, and Spirit! We arise out of the water as new creations! We were in need of a washing, we were dirty, stained with original sin and in need of a washing. Baptism makes us clean and pure. The stain is removed and we become little saints, at least until the age of reason, 7. Then we figure out how to sin and the sacrament of confession is needed.
The sky was rent in two and the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus. The sky may not have been rent in two, but my brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit came upon us! In fact, at our baptism, the grace of God, his very life, was infused within us, along with the gifts needed to persevere in this life and reach eternal life.
Finally, the Father spoke and said, "This is my beloved Son." At our baptism, the Father says, "You are my beloved adopted sons and daughters!" Thats what we are! Adopted sons and daughters of God. We were in need of a family and God brought us in. We were in need of a Savior and Christ claimed us as his own. At our baptism we were claimed by Christ for all eternity. At baptism we are anointed on the crown of our head because we are little kings. We share in the kingship of Christ. In fact, the very word Christ means anointed one. Christians are anointed ones then! We are marked and claimed by Christ as his own for all eternity.
My brothers and sisters, we have been bumped up by our baptism. We were upgraded. My flight was temporary and came to an eventual end. It also had a destination, but the destination was a temporary place. Our baptism is permanent and makes us destined for a permanent place. By baptism we are promised eternal life, not a temporary place. We have been claimed by Christ and as a result need to imitate him and remain faithful to him. We are called to live out our baptism. If we belong to Christ, then today at this Mass, let us receive him into our lives. Let us receive his very Body and Blood today at this Mass. May we remain one in him and reach our final end one day, eternal life. God Bless.
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