The Baptism of the LORD

This is better late than never – a reflection on last Sunday’s Gospel, on the feast of the Baptism of the LORD.“And yet you come to me.” The wonder of God.  When JESUS came to John the Baptist at the Jordan, John said to Him, “I need to be baptised by you, and yet you come to me!”  And yet you come to me! At the end of the season of Christmas, what after all could be a more perfect transition to the Ordinary Time of the Church’s year, than to wonder at the feast of the Baptism of the LORD?  It seems to sum up all that we had been longing for throughout all of Advent, and in each encounter with the LORD in the feast days of Christmas; and this day seems also to equip us for the journey ahead – how we must live and how we are to imitate Christ. And yet you come to me! Even the greatest man to have been born of a woman, did not understand the God whose coming he had to proclaim.  It is encouraging, in a way, to realise that God confused and perplexed even the greatest saints.  And yet you come to me! Still, these words of St John encapsulate the whole mission of Christ: even before His birth, while still in the womb of His mother, He would come to Elizabeth and her unborn baby; He would come to be born and laid in a manger far from the busy-ness and distractions of a restless town, so that at His coming He might be found – and in being recognised – He might be wondered at.  He chose obscurity and littleness, not by accident but by […]

By |January 19th, 2014|Liturgy|0 Comments

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

 For the past 6 weeks we have been reflecting on the coming among us of the Son of God – the Word was made flesh and pitched his tent among us (Jn1)  The Eternal Word of the God took on our human nature in all its beauty and frailty – sin excepted – in Mary’s womb and was born as a baby. Today we meet Jesus, the fully grown man, at prayer after having been baptised by John the Baptist.  John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance – the people who came to him acknowledged their sins and were baptised as a sign of their repentance.  Jesus, the sinless and all holy One, did not need baptism – yet he accepts John’s baptism as a sign of his solidarity with sinful men and women.  This act of humility – of total self-emptying – caused heaven to open and the Holy Spirit to descend and the voice of the Father declares: “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.”  Here we have a great mystery: that at the very moment when Jesus stands in solidarity with sinners the Father should declare him as his beloved Son on whom rests His favour – (and by inclusion all of us) – and we have the revelation of the Holy Trinity.  As St Paul tells us in today second reading: “When the kindness and love of God our saviour for humankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us by means of the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4)In the waters […]

By |January 13th, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

The following is a homily which fr Terence Crotty OP preached during the celebration of our Sunday Eucharist in our monastery chapel – 9th January, 2011.We hear a lot about power in the Church nowadays. Laypeople say that priests have all the power in the Church while priests say the bishops have all the power and so some priests recently formed an association, the “Association of Catholic Priest,” so as to get their hands on a bit of it. So the bishops seem to have all the power but, you know, when you look at them they seem completely powerless. The long and the short of it is that we’d better warn the ESB to start rationing the national grid before it collapses under the strain of so many people looking for power. The Bible too speaks of power: when Jesus is about to ascend into heaven he tells the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they are “clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:49). What is the content of this power? Well, St. John tells us that “to all who did accept , he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). This is the power a Christian looks for: not the power to dominate and rule, but the power to become children of God. For St. Luke, that promise of Jesus to clothe his disciples with power from on high is fulfilled in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. For St. Paul, the primary effect of receiving the Holy Spirit is that we can call God Father (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6), so that St. John, St. Luke and St. Paul are all in agreement that the Holy Spirit […]

By |January 10th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

For over two weeks now we have been reflecting on, and celebrating God’s great gift of Himself to us when He took on our human nature and became one of us – our brother in the flesh. We marvel at this self-emptying love which we see before our eyes in the baby – as St John describes it:Something which has existed since the beginningWhich we have seen with our own eyes Which we have watched and touched with our handsThe Word who is Life (1Jn 1:1)In today’s feast we see Jesus as a grown man taking a further step in his solidarity with humankind. St Luke, whose Gospel we read on Sundays this year, tells us that John the Baptist was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Lk 3:4). Then Jesus – the sinless One – comes and is baptised by John. Will we ever grasp the depth of this mystery? The all holy One, the innocent One stoops down to our level – identifies himself with us sinners. He does not condemn, does not stand aloof from our plight, but rather stands right in our midst, and in so doing he reveals His true identity – and our identity in Him.Luke tells us that “while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you’” We are here gazing on the whole mystery of the Incarnation at its deepest level. God, in Christ Jesus, takes on Himself our alienation from God – […]

By |January 10th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments