January 11, 2015 - The Baptism of the Lord, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We think we have to earn God’s love. And when we behave badly, as we all do from time to time, we think we’ve lost God’s love and somehow have to earn it back.
But our scriptures reveal something very different about God. God is pleased with Jesus and delights in him even before Jesus begins his public ministry. God loves Jesus unconditionally.
God’s love for Jesus is not something Jesus has to earn.
This is echoed in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: Here is my servant, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.
In the Gospel today we see Jesus being baptized. Now, Jesus’ baptism does not change his identity. But it does reveal who he is. He is the Son of God.
In baptism our identity is revealed as well. We are also beloved children with whom God is well pleased.
Through baptism God claims us. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that God shows no partiality. God does not pick one child over another. God loves us all.
Through baptism we become members of the church, a part of God’s family.
But baptism is not just about identity and belonging. In baptism we are also called to discipleship.
The Lord God, through the Prophet Isaiah, says to us: I have called you. I have grasped you by the hand. I have formed you.
But the Lord doesn’t stop there. We are called to do something.
Isaiah says the servant of the Lord opens the eyes of the blind and brings prisoners out from confinement
Our call is similar, but different. It is a serious call to follow Jesus more closely.
Have you ever stopped to notice all the baptized people around here who are answering their call from the Lord? Lectors, ushers, servers, musicians, Eucharistic ministers, teachers, helpers, lots of volunteers who make what we do here possible.
All this good work in our church is not done with my permission. It is done by right. Yes, by right. Those who serve the church have a right to do so by virtue of their baptism.
Baptism is a commissioning for service in the church. Everyone who is baptized is commissioned.
Everyone is chosen! Yes, you too. You are called by name!
God says to each of his children: You are my beloved. In you I am well pleased. And God says this before we do anything.
God’s love for us should compel us to change our ways. God’s love for us should bring about a desire in us to do good, a desire to serve.
God’s love for us should change our hearts. God’s love for us gives us our identity. God’s love for us gives us our dignity. This cannot be lost or taken away.
Sometimes we think we have to earn God’s love. But God’s love is fierce and unconditional. It is freely given. It cannot be earned.
God says to each of us: You are loved very much. I am well pleased. Now go and do good.