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Homilies :: Latin Rite
SUNDAY, BAPTISM OF THE LORD Download This Homily

January 13, 2019

SUNDAY, BAPTISM OF THE LORD


Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 ;

Psalm 29:1-4, 3, 9-10;

Acts 10: 34-38;

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 and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

 

 

Known by the Fruits

 

It is simple psychology that genuine appreciation brings out the best from a person and contributes to his or her personality development and growth. Knowing that “someone cares” is a great motivator. Family members and community members, and leaders need to know that their contributions and efforts are appreciated and valued.


Many of us have seen the film, Taare Zameen Par. It is the story of a child who did marvelously well when a teacher with a difference started appreciating and encouraging him. Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary), an eight-year-old naughty kid is often scolded and scorned at by his teachers and parents for being poor in studies. His parents and teachers were unable to identify and appreciate the wonderful painter in him. Much against Ishaan's wish, his father sends him to a boarding school, where whatever little glimmer of life's joy that remained in Ishaan begins to fade away. He even turns his back to his passion for painting. But then comes a new arts teacher in the boarding school, Ram Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) who spots the silent and brooding Ishaan in class and starts appreciating the wonderful artist in him. As a result of the appreciation, encouragement and support Ishaan even surpasses his teacher in his favourite passion for painting.


When John the Baptist was asked by the people whether he was the Messiah, he made very clear his role to the people so that they might not have any confusion or misunderstanding. He was absolutely sure about his identity and role. He was humble enough to acknowledge that he was not good enough even to untie the sandals of the messiah. We understand from the Gospels that John the Baptist and Jesus had a very high level of mutual appreciation. Both of them spoke about the other very high. In Lk 7: 28 we read, “I tell you”, Jesus added, “John is greater than anyone who has ever lived”. John, who was preaching vigorously, calling people for repentance and conversion, quietly disappeared from the scene Jesus started his mission. In fact, he directed the people to go to Jesus. The collaboration and understanding between John the Baptist and Jesus in one and the same mission of salvation is an example for us in our day to day life. If our life and mission are to be meaningful and effective we too need understanding and collaboration with others based on mutual appreciation.


God has created each one of us unique in the sense that each person is unrepeatable and irreplaceable in the plan of God. Each one of us has to be convinced that a person exactly like me did not exist in the world, does not exist now and will not exist in the future. It means that I have a unique role to play in this world in the plan of God, irrespective of my status in the society. This understanding of oneself leads to better self image and a realistic self appreciation. If I am convinced of my unique role and identity I will not see the other person as a competitor but as one who complements me. Then it will be easy for me to overcome the feelings of jealousy and envy. This realization of mutual complementarities will pay the way for mutual appreciation, understanding and collaboration. If we cultivate the habit of appreciating others it will make us happy, besides helping the other person to grow and bloom.


Each one of us needs to feel appreciated. It is our human nature to be appreciated and being recognized for our accomplishments and achievements. It is so easy to take each other for granted. In the hurry of responsibilities and the pressure of getting things done, we often forget the importance of letting people know how much they are truly appreciated. It should be spoken or written.  It should be specific. It should express what we see or feel in a person rather than being an evaluation of him or her. Each one of us is motivated in different ways. We should express appreciation and give recognition on an ongoing basis, not just once a year.


Jesus went to John to be baptized. He was baptized: the water flowed over his head. God’s Spirit came over him in the shape of a visible dove, and the voice was heard, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” -An appreciation from his Father in front of the public. 


Jesus has said that a tree will be known by its fruits. One of the fruits of a spiritual person is generosity in appreciating others and collaborating with others. Let the example of Jesus and of John the Baptist inspire and motivate us to practice the art of appreciating and collaborating with others for mutual benefit and for the benefit of the society in general.


Rev. Fr. Jacob peenickaparampil CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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