The Gospel for the Baptism of Jesus as told by a witness to the event and the life changing impact that resulted.
The warm sun is shining, and there is not a cloud in the sky. I wear a white robe, and I am standing in chest-deep water. It is the perfect temperature—comfortable and refreshing at the same time.
I have been following John for a while, and his message of repentance resonates deep in my heart. I wonder how I can apply his words—“Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.”—to my own life.
John has been baptizing people in the Jordan River, and I have seen the impact it has had on their lives. And yet, John keeps saying that someone is coming after him who is mightier and who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Whatever that means, I believe him. He is holy, honest, and passionate.
Today is my day to be baptized—along with many others. As John places his hand on my head and speaks his words of repentance with conviction, I go under the water. I feel abundant peace in my heart, and I feel so grateful that God has brought me to this place and to these people. I don’t understand everything, but I know it is good and true.
My head is still dripping with water, and I look around at the others who have just been baptized or who are waiting for their turn. My eyes stop on one man whose turn is coming up. I think I heard someone say that his name is Jesus. It suits him perfectly. He doesn’t say a word, but he captivates me, draws me in with his peaceful presence. What is it about this man named Jesus?
He comes before John, and John’s entire countenance changes. John always has this amazing reverence for the other, but his reverence for Jesus increases exponentially. The two seem to know each other well, and John lovingly embraces Jesus. He prays over him, as Jesus goes under the water. Jesus comes up, and suddenly, the clear skies become even clearer. Is that possible? And the brightness coming from above is like nothing I’ve seen before. A great light shines on Jesus. It is a warm light that draws my heart closer to Him, even though I physically don’t move a muscle. I hear a voice, so strong and so gentle:
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)
I can’t believe I am witnessing this miracle. I feel so privileged, so honored, like I’ve been invited to some royal event. My eyes remain on Jesus. Could he be the one John has been talking about? The one mightier than he? Maybe, but he responds to this voice with such humility and receptivity. It’s almost as if he is in prayer or conversation with this voice coming from the sky. If that is true, is this the voice of God?
I wish Someone would speak words like that to me. I wish God would call me beloved and be pleased with me. As longing for that kind of love blooms within my heart, I can’t help but grow in hopeful expectation. Perhaps since I am standing so close to Jesus, here in the water, maybe God’s loving gaze will find me, too. And perhaps if I follow Jesus out of this water, wherever He is going, maybe His Father will notice me and my proximity to His Son and be pleased with me, too. Maybe He will even adopt me as His beloved daughter.
So many questions flood my mind, and yet my heart knows without a doubt that I need to follow Jesus. The love that I feel between Jesus and this voice and the reverence that John shows Jesus convict me. I don’t need to fully understand. I just need to trust with the gift of faith.
These were the inspired words of Sarah Damm.
And we all respond: Thank you Jesus!
Homily on Feast of Baptism of Jesus 2019- Elena Garcia ARCWP
And this is the Marvel of Marvels, that He called me Beloved. Sit with this statement for a while and see what conclusions you can arrive at. The marvel part suggests somewhat of a surprise, astonishment, wonder and admiration. Beloved is an endearing expression of affection rarely used by us. Yet we are very familiar with the use of the word love. To the point that we use it to express our appreciation for all kinds of things. We love a movie or an ice cream or a pet or whatever offers us pleasure at the moment. Thus we may have lost the true meaning of loving and being loved. At times when we feel the warm fuzzies toward another, we tell them that we love them. At other times we say it out of habit. But to feel lovable we need to understand a deeper realization and meaning.
We can remain distant from the idea of being loved by God in such a way as to be called Beloved. God is LOVE and God has first loved us. We in turn can love when we accept that God’s love makes us lovable regardless of our awareness of this phenomena. The feeling that springs forth from us in the presence of an infant evokes in us an unspeakable desire to hold that child, and to receive from it innocent love and acceptance. To be accepted just as we are, without discrimination or judgement. And we in turn accept that child who is pure and holy.
As the child develops and grows we then begin to acknowledge the individual personality and a strong attachment to a parental figure, accepting and often demanding that all its needs be provided by that person or persons. And so the bond between them grows and makes it possible for the loving parent and the loved child to overcome challenges together and to share that love with many as their circle widens exponentially, throughout their lifetime.
And how do we know instinctively about responding to nurturing love, pure and holy? This celebration of The Baptism of Jesus gives us a bit of an insight into how this love thing works.
As I meditate on this I am reminded that Jesus and His parent had such a relationship. Adoration, obedience, admiration, and joy.
I remember that at the time I entered the convent in my youth, I felt so loved that I chose for my motto, “To live in the joy of being loved.” That motto has been a reminder to me of my relationship with the Great I AM. I am a child of God. Dearly beloved sisters and brothers we are all a child of God. !
Yes we are the beloved and God is well pleased with us. Holy Love accepts us just as we are, unconditionally. And we, do we strive to have that same relationship that Jesus had with his Imma/Abba? Do we live in the joy of that love?
And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called us Beloved!
Questons for Homily Sharing
~ How has your life been impacted as a beloved ?
~ Does God’s love compel you to marvel?