Baptism of the Lord 2021
Fr. Mark Gatto
Date Posted: January 10, 2021
Who among us is alone at this time? Who feels isolated? Who is struggling with loneliness? Who is searching for meaningful contact with other people?
After he rises from his baptism in the Jordan, Jesus experiences the voice of the Father, “You are my Son, the Beloved.” Jesus had a deep sense of connection with the Father. Jesus experienced being a Beloved Son. The entire life of Jesus, his teachings, his actions, it all sprang out of this deep connection and intimacy. He lived as a Beloved Son.
Each of us also need to experience and be rooted in a deep sense of connection and intimacy. To know within that sense of being beloved sons or daughters.
Beginning with our Baptism, we were united to Jesus and adopted as beloved children of God. All the Sacraments are meant to deepen this sense of being beloved. Our prayer should lead us into being intimately united to the Holy Trinity, the Living God.
This is the key and first step to living a truly Christian life, a healthy and loving human life. It hopefully begins within our own families where we first experience being loved. To know that we are loved not for what we can do or offer, but simply beloved in ourselves.
The sign of a civilization of love is that no one is seen as expendable. How do we treat the disabled, refugees, the elderly, the unborn, the poor? It is a failure of a society when we see certain people as inconvenient. Are there certain groups of people in our society that we push aside as unworthy of our care?
The Covid Pandemic has forced us to reflect as individuals, as a society, as a church, on how we live together. To reflect on who is neglected and who has been abandoned by us. It has caused us to realize that we need one another, that we are not just individuals going through life on our own. We are connected as one human family, we are brothers and sisters. A good examination of conscience should reflect on who needs my care in some way.
Each of us needs to experience that deep call within us, “you are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter.” Listen in silence for that voice of God speaking in your heart and holding you in a gentle embrace.
From that starting point, we need to look around at the people in our lives, our families, our parish, our community. Who is alone, who is isolated, who is lonely, who is searching for a caring heart? Reach out, listen, connect in some way.
As a beloved son or daughter of God, see in your neighbour a beloved son or daughter of God, brothers and sisters all. Then look around and see who needs to experience themselves as beloved through your personal care.
Baptism of the Lord – Year C
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: January 13, 2019
There was a woman in the RCIA who was preparing to become Catholic. She was very excited about all that she was learning about Jesus. She turned to the priest one day all excited and asked him, “What do you still want to learn about Jesus?” The priest was surprised and thought a moment, then he answered, “I want to know what was in the heart of Jesus.”
Well, in the account of the baptism of Jesus we see a glimpse of what was in the heart of Jesus. As he rises out from the water after his baptism in the Jordan, it says a voice is heard, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”
The Eternal Father in Love sends the Eternal Son to become one of us. Jesus, truly God and truly a human being. He became fully human like us in all things but sin. Jesus knew weakness, sadness, grief, he cried, had pain and joy, shared friendships, knew the love of a mother, experienced suffering and death. Jesus shared our humanity fully.
In the heart of Jesus was an intimate relationship with God the Father, whom he called Abba. A deep union as a beloved Son. This love and union with the Father inspired everything that Jesus thought and did.
In our baptism we are united to Jesus and through Jesus we actually share in Divinity, we share in the life of God, enter into the Trinity to dwell in God.
One of our most simple prayers is the Sign of the Cross. Yet, it is so profound. When we make that Sign of the Cross devoutly we are expressing our unity with Jesus who shared our humanity and we are expressing our being embraced within the heart of God, as a beloved child.
The key to being a good Catholic is not going to Mass on Sunday or saying certain prayers. The key to being a good Catholic is to know in our heart what was in the heart of Jesus at his baptism. “You are my Son the beloved.”
St. John Paul II once defined Christianity this way, “it is an attitude of amazement at the dignity of the human being.” You all have a great dignity in the eyes of God. You are the beloved of God. After we come to know this in our heart, then we need to see our fellow human beings with the eyes of God. All human beings have this dignity, including those different from us, including those in prison, including refugees, including a child with autism, including the senior with dementia and so on.
As the baptized, we are to form our heart so that it becomes the heart of Jesus. The heart of a beloved Son, the heart of a beloved daughter. Then we need to see and treat all our fellow human beings as the beloved children of God.
Have the heart of a beloved child of God, see your fellow human beings as beloved children of God.