January 9, 2012
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Listen to the podcast version here.
This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me. I am
not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his
sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize
you with the Holy Spirit.” It happened in those days
that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized
in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of
the water he saw the heavens being torn open and
the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a
voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”
My heavenly Father, you made me out of your infinite
love. Even though I have failed to love you as
a good child should, still you send me gift upon
gift. You sent your Son to redeem me and to
make me one with you, in and through your Son.
You and your only beloved Son sent your Spirit of
Love and Truth, the Holy Spirit, to dwell in my
heart, mind and body. I wish to open my heart
and eyes to all that you have done for me
and continue to do for me, and to love you
in return, growing in generosity with you, your Church and
all of your children.
Petition: Lord, bless me
with authentic interior poverty.
1. Humility, the Springboard
to Heaven: Christ lowered himself from heaven so we could
see him. John said he was not worthy to stoop
down and untie the sandals of Jesus. Because he was
humble, John recognized who he was and who Jesus was.
We, however, tend to raise ourselves above others in our
minds and actions. Until we recognize Jesus for who he
is, as John did, we will not be able to
understand our Lord, who humbled himself and took on our
lowly nature so that we might see the dignity of
man and the holiness of God – who is humble.
2. The Cleansing Power of Grace: John poured
the muddy Jordan water upon Christ’s head. As it dripped
down his sacred head and body, something happened to that
water: the Spirit of God entered it. No longer would
baptism consist merely of water poured over a body; now
it would cleanse the soul and fill it with everlasting
life. What was muddy is now the instrument of purity.
Divinity enters humanity. Christ wants us to open our hearts
and minds to him, to his grace, to his life,
and to his mission. To do so we must experience
our intense need for him, our own spiritual poverty and
the unsurpassed wealth of the gifts Our Lord longs to
pour into our souls. Am I deeply conscious of my
need for God’s grace in my soul? Am I able
to turn to him and humbly ask for this?
3. Lord, Strip Me of the Things of this World:
The heavens were torn asunder, and the voice of the
Father thundered from the sky above. John stood in awe
as he watched the Holy Spirit descend upon the Son
of Man, the Son of God. He who was not
fit to untie the Lord’s sandal baptized him, and his
eyes were opened. He saw that holiness is not of
this world. The things of this world are of no
value before almighty God. Our pride, vanity and disordered sensuality
blind us from seeing the beauty of a meek and
humble heart. If we are meek and humble of heart,
we will hear God say, “You are my beloved child;
with you I am well pleased.”
Christ: Lord Jesus, you know when I stand and when
I fall. Help me to let go of the things
of this world, so I will fall more madly in
love with you. You are my strength and my hope;
may you be my love.
Resolution: Today I
will set aside an extra 10 to 15 minutes to
pray with you, Lord Jesus, to speak to you heart-to-heart.