In the deep water: Homily for January 13, 2019, The Baptism of the Lord

The Deacon's Bench | 1/13/2019 | Staff
joseph76 (Posted by) Level 3
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Why did he do it?

It’s a question that often pops up when we hear these readings and observe this feast.

Jesus - Sin - Point

“Why did Jesus get baptized?” He obviously was free of sin. Why did he go through this ritual? What was the point?

Why did he do it?

Theologians - Centuries - Importance - St - Gregory

Theologians have been writing about this for centuries. They often talk about its symbolic importance. St. Gregory of Nyssa compared the baptism in the Jordan to Joshua entering the promised land through the Jordan. St. Ephrem wrote a hymn comparing the Jordan the womb of Mary.

But I think the explanation is much simpler — and can lead us today to a deeper appreciation of Christmas and the Incarnation.

Moment - Jesus - Shows - God - World

In short: this moment when Jesus is baptized shows just how much God wanted to enter our world — to be one of us, to live as one of us, to share in all we are, even to the point of being baptized with all the others.

To use a water metaphor, he took a deep dive.

He went all in.

I’m reminded of the story of Satoko Kitahara.

Satoko - Woman - Tokyo - Years - World

Satoko was a wealthy young woman who lived in Tokyo in the years after World War II. She was well-educated, spoke several languages, played the piano and was trained as a pharmacologist.

But she lived in a city in ruins. Some of the poorest people Tokyo, mostly widows and orphans, lived near the river in a place that came to be called “Ant Town,” because the people were considered as insignificant as insects.

City - Satoko - Curiosity - Group - Nuns

In 1949, while walking through the city, Satoko decided, out of curiosity, to follow a group of nuns into a Catholic church – and was transfixed by what she saw. Something touched her very deeply, and spoke to her heart. She was especially moved by a statue of the Blessed Mother, and asked...
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