12th/13th Jan 2019

posted 28 Jan 2019, 02:44 by Parish Office

Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Year C (12 & 13/1/19)


Pope John Paul II – now St John Paul II – was once asked what was the most important thing that ever happened to him.  There could have been all sorts of things he could have answered.  One of them might have been being elected Pope – and what about all the emotion that went with it:  at the conclave, hearing the votes being counted and then realising that he had been chosen, his decision to accept, and then his appearance on the  balcony, as the crowds outside, and all over Poland, went wild.  But no.  He said that the most important thing that ever happened to him was his baptism.


We’ve just been celebrating the birth of Christ, and now, as the Christmas season draws to a close, we celebrate Christ’s baptism.  For thirty years, Christ had lived a fairly quiet life, and nothing is recorded between his being found in the Temple at the age of twelve, and then Him beginning His public ministry, aged thirty.  He is baptised, and then it all begins.  It’s the same for us.  When we are baptised, that is when our lives as Christians begin.  Many of you were probably baptised as babies, but some of you have been baptised as adults, or perhaps somewhere in-between being babies and adults.  Perhaps you learned about Christ first, and began to pray.  But even so, it was only when you were baptised that you became a member of the Body of Christ, the Church, and your life as a Christian began.  After Christ was baptised, the Father declared, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you”.  In the same way, at our baptism, we became children of God.  The baptismal waters washed away Original Sin and gave us the Holy Spirit – God’s favour rested on us.  It’s now up to us how we use that gift.  Maybe we are not called, like Christ, to live a life of travelling and preaching, and ending up being crucified.  But we are called, each and every one of us with no exception, to follow Christ through thick and thin, to witness to Him, to spend our lives for Him, to show to the world that no thing and no one takes the place of God – God is our all and our everything.  Like St Paul, we confess that “nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him.” (Phil 3:8).


In some ways, being baptised is a bit like being elected Pope.  It’s a life-changing event, and through it, great things can happen, and God can use us to begin to change the world.