The Baptism of the Lord
The Baptism of the Lord Homily Transcript
>>A bunch of second graders were coming back from summer vacation. First day back at school, in August. And the teacher said to the second graders, “Boys and girls, where did you spend your summer vacation?”
Little Johnny raises his hand and says, “Teacher, I spent the summer with my grandma in saskatchewan.”
The teacher said, “Johnny, that’s a beautiful vocabulary word. Can you spell saskatchewan?”
Little Johnny thought about it and said, “Come to think about it, grandma lives in Green Bay.”
I still don’t like the Green Bay Packers, alright?
I was very close to my Uncle Ted before he died. He taught me how to play sports. Spent much time with the family, he was a bachelor, and the four of us children. He loved us very deeply. Before entering Mundelein seminary in the fall of 1975, Uncle Ted revealed three things to me that I’ve carried in my heart for about 45 years.
The first thing he said was, “As you live your life, be tender. The importance of showing compassion, love, mercy, and forgiveness, and care to all we meet.”
Secondly, Uncle Ted said, “Be committed.” He told me, “If you make a commitment live it out with faith and trust and things work out. Be committed in and always to the Lord.” Uncle Ted went on to say, “We all try on a lot of enthusiasms. We chase a lot of rabbits. But we stick with, after the infatuation wears off. Is what defines our lives -keeping faith, with that which claims your love.”
Finally, Uncle Ted said to me, “Never be ordinary when you have the chance to be extra-ordinary. Be great at all you do.” He was not talking about accumulating material wealth, or living to have that fancy title or position- Uncle Ted was referring to living life to the fullest, always in and with God. Through our baptism, living life always through others.
Today we celebrate the baptism of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist marks the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. He begins His mission to create a new possibility for the world. It is a mission of love for all of God’s people. And so I ask, what does it mean to love someone?
Love involves sacrifice and Christ loves each one of us this much to death on the cross. The sacrifice of the cross is a cross of love. Jesus calls all of us to a higher standard. This higher standard means we need to carry our faith beyond our wonderful liturgy, beyond individual acts of kindness we do for others.
Because of our baptism we are called to serve, share, and listen to each other. Though not everything in life that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. For the spirit of God will never take us while the grace of God cannot keep us.