Theme: The ministry of Jesus
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday January 9 2022
The Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ was a very special moment in His life and ministry. Celebrating this Solemn Moment in the Liturgy of today, we ordinarily recall our respective experiences of the baptismal moment of grace and the power which God deposited in us through the Sacred Rites of Baptism. For Christ, it was a moment of revelation and witness, both from on high and from here below. For us, Baptism is always a moment of transformation and regeneration. May God restore and renew in us the Garment of Salvation; Amen.
The Scene of Jesus’s Baptism is so fascinating and faith inspiring. The climax of the whole sequence of the Baptism of Jesus is seen in two profound instances, one from the witness of John the Baptist, and the other from the revelation made by the Holy Spirit and the Voice from Heaven. These two profound instances are at the heart of the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22). On the one hand, the witness of John the Baptist was very clear “someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am… He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John remains a model for us on the virtues of humility, self knowledge and proper self evaluation. It is always destructive to impose on ourselves what we are not or to assume that we must always have to be better and greater than others. God is the Master of the processes of human growth and development. These processes materialise and fructify in us especially when we cooperate with God by freely assenting to His will and by making the necessary effort to make God’s will the object of our aspirations. Humility, Self Knowledge and proper Self Evaluation position us most stably on the path of integral human development and animates us from within and without to achieve our purpose and mission in life. This was the case with John the Baptist. This is the reason why John the Baptist remains one of the most credible and celebrated witnesses to Christ. On the other hand, God revealed the greatest mystery He has left us in Christ; “heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.” With this celestial affirmation about Christ, God not only revealed the true identity of the Man before us, but also, God gave us the indication of His approval of the Mission of Jesus in the world. Hence, the Baptism of Jesus Christ will indicate the actual beginning of His public ministry.
Through the ministry of Jesus Christ, God inaugurated the process of our transformation into better human persons and into the glorious and gracious state of being adopted sons and daughters of God in Christ and through Christ. The First Reading (Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7) prophetically made this clear; “I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations.” Walking through the waters of Baptism, Jesus indicated to us the path with which to begin a new form of life with God in a definitive manner. This new form of life is the life of grace. This new form of life receives its power, merits and efficacy from the person and mission of Christ who is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Through His baptism, Jesus opened the door of grace upon the Sacred Rites of Baptism with which His followers would begin this new form of life and through which they will enter the fullness of life in eternity. Through His Baptism, Jesus made both salvation and the transformatory spiritual processes of salvation available to all. Through His Baptism, Christ directs us into the loving embrace of the Father Who recreates, reforms and regenerates us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must note that God inaugurated all of these spiritual transformatory processes “for no other reason excerpt His own compassion that He saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which He has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7). Love simplifies! God’s simplification of the spiritual processes of reaching salvation is a great sign of His love and compassion for the human race. Celebrating this notable moment in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is an invitation to re-examine our commitment and dedication to these gracious processes which God has given to us as means of our integral nourishment. It is a moment to re-evaluate our commitment to the Sacraments, especially the promises we made to God at our reception of the Sacrament of Baptism.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your immense love and compassion for us. Thank You for the various means You have given us to make a profound experience of Your love for us in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May we never take these various spiritual means for granted and may we be faithful to the commitments we made through them; Amen. Happy Sunday;
Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE