Christmas Weekday, Friday, January 6, 2023
1 Jn 5:5-13; Ps 147: 12-15, 19-20; Mk 1:7-11
I will start today with a question. And that question is this: Who do you believe? So think of that question as you listen to this homily.
I am going to start by talking about Baptism. I don’t think any of us remember our own Baptism. I would have to believe that most of us were baptized when we were fairly young. If you were not, and were baptized later, then you probably remember what it was like. For the rest of us, think about the baptisms that you attended, either for your own child, or someone you knew. Perhaps you were there as a godparent, a relative, or just a friend that was witnessing the child being baptized. From what I see, when the parents, godparents, and anyone else that is there see the child being baptized, they all light up with a smile. It is a sight to behold. It warms our hearts knowing that child is now in the care of God. That child has now received an indelible mark on their soul that can never be taken away. And now, once baptized, the challenge begins for us to teach them so they can grow in wisdom and strength. Why do we do this? So that when they become adults, they can answer the ultimate question, the one I asked you earlier, who do you believe?
St. John lays it out pretty clearly in the first reading. While we can listen to human testimony and believe, there is still one greater that speaks the truth. The truth that will give us life. And if we don’t believe? We call God a liar about His Son. Harsh, yes, truthful, yes. Yet, we choose to believe. Because of that first mark made on our soul at Baptism, we have the grace we need to grow in wisdom and make the choice to believe.
In the Gospel today, Jesus’ willingness to be baptized by John is a sign to the people that He is willing to take on the repentance of the people and bear the burden of God’s judgment. Jesus not only was baptized by water, but will also give up His life for us and be baptized in blood. When He was baptized by John with water, the heavens opened wide and the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon him. And then God spoke His acceptance of Jesus, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
And now we know the answer to the question, “Who do you believe?” For whoever believes in the Son of God, has life forever.