Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, (One (of the Feasts where I hope to get a splash of Holy Water in the face as our priest walks by blessing us) This is a reminder for all of us to renew our baptismal vows, and to celebrate the revelation of the Most Holy Trinity. (Recall the Father speaks from Heaven and identifies the Son and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove)
This Feast always helps me recall my own baptism in Lake George (formerly known as "Lac du Saint Sacrement" (The Lake of the Holy Sacrament), New York State. This Lake was “discovered” by St. Isaac Jogues on his missionary journeys through New York to the Native American Tribes of the area. In fact we plan on naming our soon-to-be-born son, Isaac, after St. Isaac Jogues because I admire such a man that would give his life over under the throes of such brutality and harsh conditions that others might know the love of God and, themselves, to be children of God.
As I was praying this morning through the Gospel Reading assigned this year to the Feast I was struck by the phrase, “You are my beloved Son; with You I Am well pleased,” that the Father spoke over Jesus Christ. It immediately made me remember my own father who we lost to dementia in June 2013. He was such a loving, warm and holy soul and I always felt as if he was, “pleased” with me even when I was unruly. In other words, the love he demonstrated never seemed to leave based on my behavior. I liken this to my own relationship with my own son now who, though often unruly and ridiculous at age 5, I love him, “no matter what,” and, by God’s grace, always will. Though I’m not always the best at demonstrating this love toward him due to my imperfections.
What I would like to communicate is simply this: You and I are beloved children of God. We are loved and treasured by Him regardless of how we have “behaved” throughout our lives. Through our own baptism we are, “born anew to a living hope” and are made part of the Church, the family of God. Our parents are meant to be a reflection of God’s love toward us but, naturally, are unable to present the best picture of God. We are all sinners in need of the mercy of God. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan should bring to mind our own need of God’s mercy~ He came to save sinners~ but even more than this it should remind us of His love. The Church Fathers speak of the Baptism of Jesus as an act to, “purify the waters” so that the Sacrament of Baptism would be efficacious for us.
My prayer for all of you reading this is that you may, today, come one step closer to Our Lord. That you would feel His light penetrate even the darkest recesses of your soul. That you may be touch, warmed, healed and restored to your rightful place as a beloved child of God. His desire is to show you mercy and to grant you His peace and everlasting salvation. May the Holy Spirit move you to embrace all that Our Lord has given~ the gift is Himself~ May His life remain in you even until the end of the ages. Amen.