08 January 2007

WE REMEMBER SO WELL


8 January 2007
Solemnity of the Lord’s Baptism

WE REMEMBER SO WELL
Lk 3:15-16.21-22

“I remember so well the day that you came into my life. You asked for my name. You had the most beautiful smile. My life started to change. I’d wake up each day feeling all right. With you just by my side, makes me feel things will work out just fine” – these are the opening lyrics of a very beautiful song entitled, “How Did You Know”. The song is very beautiful because it reminds the beloved how everything started between him or her and his or her lover. It immortalizes through music the origin of a love affair.

Sometimes beginnings are not remembered because they did not seem important at the time: it was just another manic Monday with all the pressures of a new week, with nothing new under the sun. Songs like “How Did You Know” refuses to abandon into oblivion the memory of an otherwise ordinary event that turned into an extraordinary beginning. Events in our lives too often become important because we later on see that it was then that something began. And when it was a beautiful beginning, the past is thanked for as a beautiful gift in the present. When we remember “that time” we invest a significance in it that was not there at the time, or at least that was not yet visible to our limited vision then.

The Feast of the Lord’s Baptism should remind us of our beginnings. I am not referring to our own baptismal days. I wish to remind you of something more prior than that. The Lord’s baptism should remind us of our origin in God, more original than original sin.

In Gen 1:26-28, we read that we are created in the image and likeness of God. We carry in our selves the blueprint of grace, not the draft of sin. The Church teaches that this “likeness” of God is God’s own glory, His own Spirit (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #705). The glory of God dwells in us. His Spirit is in us. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is the “God-in-us”. In Eph 1:1-5, St. Paul further asserts that we have been chosen in Christ even before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless, full of love, and are destined to be God’s adopted children. We are clothed in the glory of God and this is what it means to be “clothed in that glory”. However, this is also what Adam and Eve (or whatever the names of our first parents were) and all of us, their children, lost when they sinned.

Their sin of disobedience stripped our first parents of the glory of God; thus, the immediate effect of sin upon them was that they realized that they were naked. With the disobedience of our first parents, sin entered our race and we, too, stand naked, stripped of the glory of God. The unique and unequal gift of Jesus to us is therefore this: sent by the Father, He assumed our image and restored in “in the Father’s ‘likeness’ by giving it again its glory” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #705).

Today, on the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, we solemnly commemorate Jesus, in His human Body, standing before John the Baptist in the River Jordan, receiving the anointing of the Spirit from the Father. As Jesus counts Himself as one of us, though sinners we are, He receives the Spirit from the Father on our behalf. He wants us to share His anointing. As He shares in our humanity, so does Jesus shares with us His divinity. As He is the Father’s Son, so are we God’s adopted children. As the Father claims Him to be His Beloved, so does God claim us as His own.

This Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, after all, is not only the Lord’s feast. It is also ours. We remember that we are children of God before we are sinners in need of His forgiveness. We remember today that there is something more original than original sin. And that is original grace: we are predestined to be God’s beloved children in Christ even before the creation of the world.

As the Father claims us as His own in Christ as we celebrate the Lord’s Baptism, let us also reclaim our correct view on God’s Fatherhood. This reclaiming of our correct view on God’s Fatherhood may prove to be not always easy in our days, for we live in a period where we struggle under the attacks against the whole concept of fatherhood. Sadly, the reality of fatherhood seems almost to have disappeared. Without discounting the fact that certainly there are still good fathers around, many homes suffer from absent fathers, many families are victims of imperfect fathering.

Psycho-spiritual directors are not slow to say that our experience with our own fathers affects our relationship with Father God. We tend to view God they way we tend to view our own human fathers. We relate with our Father in heaven the way we relate with our fathers at home. If we experience our human fathers to be distant, patriarchal, disapproving, and unloving, we tend project to our Father in heaven our impressions on them and react in either extreme.

This distorted image of fatherhood is vividly and dramatically present in one of Jesus’ parables: the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32). In that parable, both sons nurture a distorted view on their father. The younger son feels he no longer deserves to be called a son because he has broken all the rules, while the elder feels that he has earned a special treatment because he has kept all the rules. Mistakenly, both sons think that the father’s love depends on how they behave.

But the love of God our Father does not depend on how we behave. He loves us even before we love Him. He loves us even when we love Him less. He loves us even when we love Him not. He loves us when we are good. He loves us even when we are sinful. He loves us more than we know. He assures us of His kind of love today as we stand with Jesus at the River Jordan. As He is pleased with Jesus simply because He is His Son, so is He pleased with us simply because we are His children.

The essence of fatherhood is to delight in your children. The essence of God’s Fatherhood is to delight in us, His children. This is how it all started in our love affair with God. This is our beginning, more original than original sin. This we remember today so well.

1 Comments:

At 4:26 AM , Anonymous Bubut said...

Thank you Father God for remembering us as your children though sinner we are.

God bless po...

 

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