PARISH PRIEST’S REFLECTION
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 | Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 | Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
THEME: JOHN HIMSELF DECLARED THAT HIS BAPTISM HAD TO BE COMPLETED BY THE MIGHTIER SON OF GOD WHO BAPTISES WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE
Although the Baptism of the LORD by John the Baptist took place many years later after the Birth of Christ, in celebration it is closely linked to the Birth of Christ and the celebration of Christmas. With the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the LORD, we conclude the season of Christmas and we begin what we call Ordinary Time in our Liturgical Celebrations. The celebration of the Baptism of the LORD becomes an opening to a new way of life in Christ.
Christmas is a declaration of the Son of God born to humanity and the Baptism of the LORD according to today’s Gospel text is God’s specific declaration that Jesus is the Beloved Son with whom the Father is well pleased (Luke 3:22). So we conclude the celebration of Christmas with this important declaration and we march on in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul in his letter to Titus in our Second Reading today summarizes perfectly the meaning of this Feast of the Baptism of the LORD: “When the Goodness and Loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, not because of any righteous deeds of ours, but because of His mercy, He saved us through the Baptism and Renewal by the Holy Spirit whom He richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour so that we might be justified by His Grace and become heirs in hope of Eternal life.”
This is the Christ that John the Baptist declares to those who were expecting the Christ:
John says,” I baptise you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming; He will Baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
This is what St. Paul is alluding to as salvation through the Baptism and Renewal by the Holy Spirit. It is the power of God in the Birth of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So as we begin the Ordinary Time of the year, we are being comforted that there is a Baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire which bring about Renewal and puts to an end our “warfare.” We begin a new journey to what the prophet calls comfort. Isaiah 40:1ff, Says “Comfort, comfort my people”, says your God. “Speak tenderly to my capital city (Jerusalem), and cry to her that warfare is ended, that the iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” Punishment and pain are over.
Baptism is an opening of the door of mercy, the forgiveness of sins. At His Baptism, God declares Jesus, the person to open the door of mercy through the pouring of the Holy Spirit.
In our emptiness, we hear the voice of the LORD crying, “”prepare the way of the LORD make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Fear not, behold the LORD comes with might, He will feed His flock like a Shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arms.”
“Bless the LORD, o my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great!” For the Grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion (lack of faith) and worldly passions and to live sober, upright, and Godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ to purify us and make us zealous for good deeds.”
Let us march in the new Liturgical Year united in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Msgr. Gerard Kalumba
Christ the King Parish, Kampala