Here is my homily for the weekend. God bless you!
Baptism of the Lord 2022
Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38;Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22
January 8/9, 2022
In the early years of the Church, whenever they spoke about Epiphany they were referring to three great events in the life of Jesus, not just the coming of the Magi. Yes, the three Magi saw God in a poor baby in a manger in Bethlehem and it was a great Epiphany. But the early Church also said that when the newlyweds and guests at the wedding feast of Cana saw the Son of God in Jesus when he turned water into wine, it too was a great Epiphany. They also said that today’s feast was a great Epiphany.
When the people in Judea saw both God and Man in Jesus as He was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist and the Father spoke out loud that day, “You are my beloved son!” It was a great Epiphany.
Epiphanies are eye-opening events, a “wow” moments, times of clarity and recognition of the Truth, times of “Now I see, even though it is a mystery!”
The wise men, the wedding feast at Cana, and today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord are all epiphanies.
When Jesus was baptized, it was not to receive forgiveness for He was sinless. He was baptized to reveal to us who He is — God and man — and to show us how much God the Father loves us.
Yes, it was a great consolation that day when Jesus revealed to us who he is and who we are by God’s grace and will.
The Magi, the Baptism of the Lord, and the wedding feast of Cana, and even the Transfiguration were all great epiphanies major revelations and consolations to us because epiphanies are moments of consolation in knowing that God is with us!
The “great epiphanies” may be over, but we need our own “minor epiphanies.” God knows this and so He gives them to us.
Let me describe to you one epiphany that frequently happens in this church: baptisms of children. Baptisms are epiphanies, stunning revelations of God’s power, love, and presence. God says to each child baptized, “You are my beloved child! With you I am well-pleased.” The Holy Spirit descends that child and he or she is completely spiritually transformed into a pure, brilliant, holy light. Baptism is spiritually so stunningly beautiful that if we could see the beauty with our physical eyes, it would be like looking into the sun. The beauty would be so overwhelming that we couldn’t take it all in because it is the beauty of God Himself. In baptism God the Father makes each child an epiphany. He wants to reveal himself to the world in the child who bears his image and will grown into his likeness. God says to the child, “I give you new eyes — the eyes of faith — I give you new ears — ears open to my words —so you may see me in all things and hear me speak to you. I show myself to you! Now, go and reveal me to others.”
It is difficult to really understand and accept how loved you are by God. Words cannot fully describe it. It is easy to understand how much God loves an innocent child, but harder to understand the same for us as adults. So, sometimes God gives us a personal “epiphany” moment when we just know God loves us. We “feel” it in a sense. These are moments of consolation, of peace, of assurance. These are moments when we understand God is real and love. Invariably, moments of desolation follow, when we seem distant from God and all alone, but these moments of desolations happen so that we may better appreciate the consolations when they return.
Think of the people in your own lives that were epiphanies of God’s love. Think of the common man and woman who in some way reminded you that God exists, that God loves you, that God is around you and in you, that he never leaves you alone to face life by yourself. Think of someone that told you that God chose to get involved in your life to console and support you. Think of those people today who were epiphanies of God in times of desolation. Common men and women who were great lights. They may not have turned water into wine, or ever were visited by wise men from the East, and they didn’t hear a voice boom over them the day they were baptized, but they were people God chose to reveal to you that God among us!
Our world today is in great desolation. It seems left to its own devices and far from God’s ways. It is blind to the minor epiphanies of God. But after this time of worldly desolation there will come a time of great consolation, a time of awareness that God is among us. It will be God’s gift. It will come when He wishes to give it. We do not know the time or the hour. This is the hope all Christians have. We must tell others what we believe and hope. We must take up the mission God gives us in our own baptisms. God wants us to be an epiphany to someone someday. This is what our parish mission statement tells us: We are to be spirit-filled disciples bringing others to Christ through God’s love. Let is do so consoled always be the faith that God is with us!