Homily for January 12

Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Scriptures for today's Mass

Have you ever loved someone who disappointed you?
someone who really let you down?
someone who was unfaithful to you?

Have you ever loved someone who forgot you?
gave up on you?     ignored you?     stopped speaking to you?

Have you ever loved someone who betrayed you?
rejected you? walked out on you?  

And… is there someone,
are there some people in your life whom you still love
even after they’ve disappointed, hurt, rejected,
betrayed or abandoned you?

It was that way for Jesus, too.

In his hour of greatest need, his closest friends
disappointed him, let him down, were unfaithful to him,
gave up on him, betrayed him and walked out on him...

And even after all that, he continued to love them,
to love them enough to lay down his life for them on the Cross.

And it’s that way with us, too - with God and us.

Often, even over and over again, we are unfaithful to God,
stop speaking to God, forget God, ignore God
and give up on God and walk out on him.

But no matter how many times we do that,
God still loves us,  every single one of us without exception.
God never gives up loving us -
because with God - love comes first.

Even before the world was created   ---   God loved me and God loved you.

Before you and I were conceived in our mothers’ womb  
---   God loved us.
Before I sin, while I’m sinning and after I sin   --   God loves me.

Before God looks at any or all of my failures   --   he looks on me with love.

Before God judges me   ---   God loves me.
After God judges me  ---   God loves me.

There’s not a moment of any day or night of my life
when God isn’t loving me.

God loves me in my every waking moment - and while I’m fast asleep.

God loves me in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.

God loves me when I‘m paying attention to him and his word
and he especially loves me when I wander off far from his word:
he loves me to bring me back to him.

God loves me when I do what’s right
and he loves me when I do what’s wrong.

He loves me with his mercy, to forgive me.
God loves me when I speak to him in prayer
and when I ignore him:
when I’m ignoring God, he’s constantly calling my name in love,
wanting to catch my attention and draw me back to him.

Nothing I do or fail to do can cause God to stop loving me.

If this seems too good to be true,
consider the love a mother or father has for a son or daughter
who has hurt them deeply.

As painful as that hurt might be,
the parent still loves the child and it’s even possible
that the deeper the hurt the child has caused,
the greater the love the parent holds and keeps for that child.

Would God love us, his wayward children,
any less than we love our own?

In the gospel today, we find Jesus on the banks of the River Jordan.
Jesus has no sins to be forgiven but still he asks John to baptize him.

The infant Jesus cradled in the stable in Bethlehem
is now a full-grown man
and he’s about to begin the work he was born to do.

The heavens open up and a voice speaks,
 “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
And so here is revealed the love relationship of the Father with the Son
--- and it is a relationship of love.

It was for this that Jesus was born, that Jesus came:
to reveal to you and me how the Father loves him:
to reveal that to us because how the Father loves Jesus
is how the Father loves you and me.

So we, you and I, might have stood with Jesus at the Jordan that morning.
And we might have heard the Father’s voice say to each of us:
YOU are my beloved daughter!
YOU are my beloved son!
With YOU I am well pleased.

We’re not perfect like Jesus was - we have faults and failings
- and God is not well pleased in our sins.

But with God, love comes first.

Love always comes first.

And where you and I fail in loving God, in loving our neighbor ---
after his love comes his mercy, his forgiveness, his pardon.

The scene at the River Jordan establishes Jesus’ relationship to his Father
and thus he’s ready to begin his saving work,
the preaching of the gospel.

And in a real way, the same is true for you and me.
My deepest life, your deepest life doesn’t begin, can’t truly begin
until we come to understand who we are – in relationship to God.

• It’s my relationship to God
(not to my parents, my spouse, my family, my children or my friends)
it’s my relationship to God
that ultimately defines who I am as a human being.

• It’s my relationship to God,
(not my talents, not my job, not my wealth)
--- it’s  my relationship to God that gives my life its deepest meaning.

 It’s my relationship with God
(not my dreams and schemes and plans,
not my education and career path)
but rather my relationship with God that will reveal
my life’s greatest purpose.

 My relationship with God
is the most important relationship I’ll ever have in life: bar none!

This feast of the Baptism of the Lord,
coming as it does at the beginning of a new year,
is a golden opportunity for each of us
to review and to renew our relationship with God,
and especially a good time to remember
and truly take to heart the truth that:
With God, love always comes first!
In that spirit, then,
I invite us all to renew our own baptismal promises.
For most of us, these promises were made
by our parents and godparents when we were infants in their arms.

Here’s an opportunity for us:
to make those promises our own
to renew our faith in God’s love for us
and to promise to strive to live more faithful lives
in the new year ahead of us.

Please rise!
And I ask:

 • Do you renounce sin, that is anything that distracts you,
seduces you or causes you to doubt that God loves you
fully, freely and with forgiveness?
• Do you believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
who loved you from before all time
and loves you unconditionally this very morning?

• Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was born of the Virgin Mary,
was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead
so that we might know and live
in his Father’s everlasting love?

• Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body
and the gift of eternal life
in the everlasting arms of God’s love?

This is our faith, the faith of our Church.
We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus the Lord.


 Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!