Deacon Pat's Books - Popular Catholic novelist and author!

Deacon Pat's Books - Popular Catholic novelist and author!
Click on the book to go to the book site (The sale of the books support our mission).

Camino De Santiago

Along with a group very special friends, my brother Tim, and two Priests, we will be walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain beginning in August. Please friend me "Deacon Pat Kearns" on Facebook to follow the journey. I realize with limited internet, Facebook will be the easiest way to share the journey. I will share more on the blog when I return. I am also looking forward to using the experience in the current novel I am work on "Climbing Out of the Darkness."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Baptism of our Lord and His Example to us.

Homily – Deacon Pat Kearns
The Baptism of our Lord

In the Gospel today Jesus presents himself to John to be baptized, and how does John react? John states to Jesus: “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” And Jesus responds: “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Many have questioned why Jesus needed to be baptized, especially since he was without sin. It has been said that Jesus’ submission to the baptism of John was to demonstrate that he was a faithful Jew who obeyed the Law and the practices associated with good Jewish life.

And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to Him and John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. Then a voice from heaven said “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

As you know, Jesus taught us so very much through example, through his actions. There are many lessons and insights available to us through today’s experience. But for many of us, especially those of us whom had been baptized as infants, might have either forgotten the significance of a catholic baptism, or frightfully, have never really been taught.

So what does it mean to be baptized?

As baptized Catholics we have been invited and accepted to join as members of a Godly people. God has called us and we have responded to fulfill all righteousness, to be faithful, to obey the laws and practices, and for doing so, we are told that we are beloved, and that God is well pleased with us. He has taken us by the hand and kept us. He has given us a covenant, ensured us eternal life, and has asked that we share the good news of salvation with others.

As God’s loved people, we are to be the light of the world. A city built on a hill that cannot be hid. And realizing that no one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but rather on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. So too are we to be that light. As baptized Catholics, we are called to let our light shine on the prisoners of darkness, those who are slaves to sin, so they may escape the darkness that chains their souls.

But how is it that we are to call on those who do not believe?

How are we to share our belief with those who have never experienced God or his loving spirit?

I recall the words of Saint Francis of Assisi who once told his early followers: “Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.” Meaning – that we teach most effectively and most abundantly though our actions, not necessarily with our words.

It is through the witness of our lives, our holy actions, our generous hearts, our forgiveness, and our love, that others will experience who and what a Christian is. It is often through the love witnessed by others that God begins to reveal himself. It isn’t preaching, nor chastising that inspires pagans or fallen away Christians to seek God, but rather a desire to have something that is witnessed in the lives of others.

I have heard from so many lost souls, that when they saw the joyfulness, peacefulness, and such love in another; they wanted to posses what that other person had, and when they inquired, and heard that the source of this delight was God, it was then and only then, that their eyes were opened, and then could see that there was something more to life.

Our actions, our behaviors have such power, and much more influence than you might imagine.

We must keep in mind however, that all in this world have a free will, especially those who live in darkness, and unless they recognize their blindness and their imprisonment, they cannot be cured, nor freed.

Many cannot see the darkness of their own lives since it has become usual and routine, yet when held against a contrasting light, a contrasting life, illuminated with God’s grace and love, it is then that the contrast is recognized. God works in mysterious ways, and his ways are not our ways, yet he places certain situations and people in our lives for specific purposes.

You might be thinking, who me, how or what can I do for God? Not unlike John the Baptist who when confronted by Jesus for baptism, immediately felt unworthy, don’t we often feel unworthy or incapable of taking a lead role, especially in things religious?

But how did Jesus respond to John; “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill righteousness.”

And by Jesus being faithful to the laws and practices of the faith, and upon his baptism, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit came down upon him. The same is true for us, that through our baptism, through our submission to the church, obedience to the laws and practices of our faith, the Holy Spirit descends upon us and filled us with something so much greater than ourselves. It is this spirit that illuminates us, it is this same spirit that strengthens us and motivates us to do things beyond our usual comforts, and it is this spirit within us that is recognizable to others as good and holy.

And when we acknowledge that through our baptism we have become holy, we have become united with Christ, and when we help share the good news of salvation, forgiveness, love, and eternal life with others,

God looks upon us and says:

This is my beloved Son, My beloved daughter…. With whom I am well pleased.

To sum up the message for us today and the message from the gospel…..

As we begin to embrace our baptism and we acknowledge that through our baptism we have become holy, we have become united with Christ, and when we help share the good news of salvation, forgiveness, love, and eternal life with others, that voice from heaven says:

This is my beloved Son, My beloved daughter…. With whom I am well pleased.

No comments: