Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 3,13-17.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Peace to all my brothers and sisters listening in today
1) Baptism: For those of you who have seen the film the 10 Commandments you remember that climactic moment when Charlton Heston extends his hands over the Red Sea and God miraculously separates the waters making a way where there was no way-for the Hebrew people to escape. They go into the parted water and submerge themselves into the sea and crossover and rise again on the other side. They thus begin their journey from slavery in Egypt, to freedom and new life. This is exactly what baptism does. The very word means to submerge or immerse and it is a call to not only cleanse ourself in the waters and to be purified from all stain of sin but also a call to immerse ourselves fully in Christ, dying in order to be reborn and so experience a new birth, a new life which comes only through dying. This perfectly symbolizes the Paschal mystery, that dying and rising of Christ in which we are invited to plunge ourself into.
2) Plunge: I’m not sure if any of you remember the commercial in which a man stood by the side of a pool and just allowed a backwards freefall into the water. It was called taking the Nestle ice tea plunge. It’s a beautiful reminder that baptism is not what you do but rather it is what is done and to you that is what we receive. Through baptism we are purified and set free to continue the mission of Christ. We are invited to walk a life of grace towards heaven.
3) The Sieve: There is a great story about an old monk and his novice disciple who were walking by the sea. The novice was carrying a cup and a sieve. At the waters edge, they stood upon a rock and the old monk said “show me how you would fill the sieve with water.” The disciple stopped and filled the cup with water. He then poured it into the sieve. Cup after cup he poured into the heart of the sieve but no matter how quickly he poured nothing was left in the bottom. After trying many times the old monk just watched saying nothing. In the end the novice faced the master and shrugged his shoulders- the task was hopeless. Now the monk spoke. It is like this with the life of the human spirit too, he said. So long as we stand on the rock of I, of self, and therefore of selfishness, and try to pour the divine life into that shell, so certainly that life will escape us. This is not the way to fill a sieve with water, nor the human spirit with the life of the divine. Then the monk reached out his hand and took the sieve from the disciple. He thrust his arm far behind him and then launched the sieve as far as he could into the face of the deep. For a moment it lay on the face of the water then it slipped far below. Now it is full of water. the monk said and it will always remain so. That is how you fill a sieve with water and the spirit with the divine life You throw the self the I, far out and away to sink into the deep sea of the divine life”.
May God bless you and the name of the Father and of the son and of the holy spirit
Always remember heaven is our goal