Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps 29:1-4, 3, 9-10; Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
We thought about the birth of Jesus for a week and God’s plan of saving the human race. Last week we thought about salvation being offered to the whole human family by the gifts and visit of the Magi from the East. All people are invited to be "co-heirs" with the Jews of God’s loving family. This week we jump 30 years to the public baptism of Jesus, as he begins his public life, at the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
Jesus went to John, not needing purification from his sins since he had none. But he passed through the Jordan waters to lead a new “exodus.” He opened up the promised land of heaven for all people to hear the words that each of us can hear, the words of God’s beloved Son. Jesus is our shepherd and light leading us into the joys of his new kingdom.
Both John and Jesus baptized for repentance and forgiveness of sins. Yet only Jesus could add the guidance and anointing of God’s Holy Spirit, the channel of divine life. We all receive ten gifts at our own baptism. These ten are personal grace to grow in God’s life here on earth. We first get what we call theological virtues of faith, hope and divine love. Then we receive the seven gifts of Isaiah 11:2. First, wisdom to know the purpose and plan of God and understanding to know the essence of God’s plan. Then we get counsel to choose the right means to God’s end and fortitude to be steady and strong of will to do good. We also get piety to reverence God and respect for God and fear of losing his love. These come in "seed form" at baptism and can grow as we grow in the world to do good for God and others.
In the Revelation 22:1, we read,
The angel then showed me the river of living water which flowed from beneath the throne of God the Father and Jesus, the Lamb. It flowed through the streets of heaven. Along its banks grew the trees of life which bear fresh fruit twelve times a year, once each month, and their leaves are used for the healing of the nations.
This water also flows from heaven and into the 7 sacraments of the church and our prayer life. Each of these sacraments gives us different divine power to do good on earth. These are the sources of great goodness in the world. These graces charge our battery, fill our "gas tank," turn on our divine light and send us out into the world to do good.
This is the force the recent books and movies "hint to" but don’t really explain, in "the Lord of the Rings,” "Star Trek" and "Star Wars.” Jesus is really "Gandalf the White” coming from the East in the morning light to use us to help him win and ultimately defeat all the darkness we see every day attacking our world. Jesus ultimately wins. If we stay with Jesus, our Lord, and walk according to his principles and light, we shall have his eternal victory in heavenly glory. If not, well, you draw the conclusion.
Look around and find your own Obi-Wan and Yoda. They are the guidance of the Holy Spirit leading us all. And don’t forget to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day as with Jesus, we stand against the darkness around us in our country and around the world. May we be part of the awakened force of divine light, love, peace and joy, now and forever.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
@ 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR