Baptism of The Lord (Note & Bulletin)

Baptism of The Lord

While living in Jamaica, I couldn’t understand why so many people, even those who would come to church, hadn’t yet been baptized.  The Sacrament of Baptism was often delayed as long as possible, or at least until one began to live a settled or well-ordered life.  To the people, Baptism meant a deliberate and determined turning away from sin in one’s life.  Sometimes we focus too much on the external expression of our faith and forget that which forms and moulds our faith.  When we have Baptisms here at Lourdes, I always try to remind the families the faith in which their child has just entered.  If we say that God is love, then it means the life one enters in Baptism is one of love since it is God’s very life.   And it is the love of God that we strive to keep at the centre of our focus in our life and faith.  It is not our determination that moulds our faith; rather it is God’s love.

I remember a retreat some years ago and I was assigned Jesus’ Baptism for prayer.  Saint Ignatius of Loyola instructed the one praying to imagine the Gospel scene and to enter into it.  When it came to the Baptism of the Lord, I imagined myself as a sort of “lukewarm” follower of the Lord.  I liked what he was saying and doing, and there was something about him that made me want to be close to him.  That being said, I also felt I needed to keep my distance.  Shouldn’t get too close because I felt I didn’t really belong.  As we arrived at the River Jordan, the Lord almost immediately went to John to be baptized.  In my prayer, I imagined that John the Baptist looked at Jesus and then looked at me to help him hold the Lord as Christ was immersed in the water.  I awkwardly went by John’s side and said I would help.  When the Lord was immersed in the water I placed my arm on his back so as to hold his weight.  I remember I could feel his bones because he was so skinny.  I realized in my heart that the Lord was skinny because he had walked far in search of me.  He would undergo great distances and any suffering to be near me, to do anything that would help to know in my heart God’s love.  When Jesus had been baptized, John looked at me and said “And now you.”  This time it was the Lord who helped John, it was the Lord who placed his arm on my back so as to hold my weight.  With the Lord holding me, I came to understand a little bit clearer that I am, and we are, held in his love.

In love, the Lord gives his very self.  What moulds our faith is not an excessive concern for its external expression, of what our faith looks like, but it the knowledge in our hearts that it is he who holds us and that we are held in love.  To you, the Father says, “You are my beloved, in whom I delight.”  As the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Incline your ear, and come to me; listen so that you may love.”  

God Bless, and Take Care!

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Bulletin for The Baptism of The Lord292.38 KB

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