Sunday, January 10, 2016

His Baptism

Our Lord’s Baptism is a puzzling, almost apocalyptic scene-  the waters of the Jordan like the waters of chaos, the heavens opening, the voice sounding, the dove descending. Jesus, the New Adam, emerges from the waters of the Jordan to overcome all that is opposed to God, to fight for the “victory of justice,” as Isaiah puts it. He has come to win back for every human being the gift of intimate communion with God. His mission: to reveal the way to the original innocence and holiness that was intended for us from the beginning, by revealing to us the divine love that overcomes Original Sin and all sin.

Today at the Baptism the Father’s love is revealed in these words: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” What pleases the Father so much is his Son’s perfect acceptance of the Father’s gift. Jesus expresses his love by wading into the waters of the Jordan, so that his brothers and sisters might know the Father who is continually pouring out mercy. As Isaiah tells us, “the bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench.” The love of the Spirit, revealed in his descent as a dove, witnesses to the communion of love between the Father and the Son.

And so at Jesus’ Baptism we glimpse the love which is the inner life of the Trinity and mediated to us by the New Adam. United with Jesus, we too are beloved of the Father, summoned for the victory of justice-  for the fullness of communion with God, our neighbor, and all creation. 
Detail of tapestry of the Baptism by John Nava in Los Angeles Cathedral. Excerpts of this morning's homily by Father Vincent.