This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Lk 3:15-22 The Baptism of The Lord
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized…, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him…A voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Why on earth did the Lord get baptized? Only sinners need baptism. Was the Lord a sinner? No. Did He need to be baptized? No. Then why?
I am not sure. I am not 100% sure. But knowing Him, I would have to say that He wanted to be with us.
Who did the Lord spend most of his time with? Was it with the religious? No. Was it with the people He liked most? No. It was with the humble and the sinners. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, spent nearly all his time and ministry talking to, listening to, and dealing with sinners. I am not surprised in the least that He would get in John’s line and be baptized by Him.
The Lord wants to be with us. The question is: do we want to be with Him?
Not too long ago, I was communicating (by e-mail) with an atheist. I actually enjoyed the conversations we were having. I told him that I would like to continue the dialogue. He wrote back with the following: “To be honest with you, I think I am wasting my time.”
A waste of time? Interesting… What he is saying is that the risk of losing eternity is not worth a few minutes a day. Interesting. Very interesting.
See for yourself what an atheist has to offer us. See how much we have to offer them.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. I find this statement truly remarkable, for it takes a very special man (a humble man) to admit something like this; to say that they are not God and that they are not the Savior of the world. I’m not kidding. A lot of folks really think they are. A lot! They truly believe it. And here is the proof: the few empty chairs at Mass.
This morning, while I was giving the homily, I noticed an empty chair. I walked down to it. I looked at it. I even imagined a person who should be sitting in it [Yes, I was a little dramatic regarding the whole thing.]. I told the congregation, “Someone is missing. Of course we would love to think that they are sick or unable to attend today’s Mass, but we all know the truth. We know that many people do not go to Church because they truly believe they can make it without God’s help or that they don’t need God “all the time”.
When Christ chose His Apostles and said to them, “Follow me”, they knew what that meant. It meant following the Lord twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of their lives. It meant accepting everything from the Lord.
The Apostles didn’t say to Jesus, “Okay, Lord, we’ll see you next week. Hey, by the way, same time, same place?”
No. Following meant all the time and in everything.
When I was living in Mexico, I discovered La Michoacana (Mexican ice cream). It’s great stuff. And the flavors are as many as there are fruit. So, while I was learning Spanish, I decided to learn every single flavor of ice cream I could. Every day I choose a different flavor. I didn’t immediately like every flavor. Some flavors were bitter; others were sweet. But I acquired a taste for all of them. From this experience, I learned a great lesson.
So often we deal with Christ like we deal with ice cream: we pick and choose only the flavors we like. So we end up always picking the same flavors and very few flavors.
When I go to Christ, do I go to Him like I go to an ice cream parlor? Do I go for the same reasons (flavors) all the time? That is, the “merciful” Lord; the “compassionate” Lord; the “loving” Lord? Have I ever tried anything else? Like the “obedient” Lord; the “faithful” Lord; the “sacrificial” Lord?
Try it! Try it! Try to mature in your faith. Try to acquire a taste for the Lord: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (Ps 34:8).
We shouldn’t just follow the Lord once a week. That’s not following; that’s bothering. Likewise, we can’t just pick and choose some teachings (flavors) of the Lord. We need to try them all, the sweet as well as the bitter. We need to acquire a taste for them all.
The crucified Lord is as important as the Risen Lord.
Only then, only this way, will we even hope to hear at the end of our lives the same words that the Father spoke to His son: “You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.”
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