SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism
stature, and in favor with God and man', and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking 'the form of a slave'.
But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God's Son expressed the divine life of his person. The human nature of God's Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God. Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father. The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.
By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal. What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal" (#'s 472-474).
As we contemplate the mystery of Christ's baptism, there are a number of practical applications that we can consider.
In today's culture, many people, even those who are baptized Christians, have great difficulty with their own identity. Many people wonder what their purpose is in this life. People find little or no meaning as they carry out their daily activities. A cloud of laziness hangs over many people as they also strive to find direction for their lives. This Sunday's liturgy shows us that Jesus gives us meaning, purpose and direction. It is through the sacrament of baptism that we become his disciples. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and it is precisely in Jesus that our human existence finds fulfillment.
Moreover, the consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism. If you do not know the date of your own baptism, it is a good idea to go through your personal files and find out when it occurred. Many people are celebrating the anniversary of their baptism with a special celebration like a birthday. After all, baptism is the day that we are reborn. We become children of God, active members of the Church, and temples of the Holy Spirit. Original sin is washed away; we receive sanctifying grace and the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. The reality of baptism certainly gives us great cause to celebrate.
Finally, as we contemplate the baptism of the Lord, we are reminded of our apostolic mission as disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus commissions the Church to go forth and baptize all nations. It is erroneous to deny that baptism is essential for salvation. The large numbers of people who have not been baptized should inspire us to always seek the salvation of souls. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at Jesus' baptism underscores the apostolic dimension of baptism, precisely because it is the Holy Spirit who appears as tongues of fire at the moment when the Church begins its mission to baptize all nations.
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org. The audio podcast is not available this weekend.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: homily, homilies, sunday homily, baptism, father james farfaglia, Jesus
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