Today’s Readings can be found here.
This Gospel that we just heard, brothers and sisters, is a game changer. Centuries and centuries ago, God created us, and we fell from grace through the original sin, but He promised us that there would be a redemption. God the Father called a people to be chosen through Abraham, He liberated them from physical slavery through Moses, and gave them a land to live in. Some stayed faithful throughout, others sinned and went their own way.
Yet, through it all, God the Father constantly culled a remnant of people who were faithful to Him, so that they could receive the greatest gift of salvation that was to come through God Himself becoming one of us. God’s Son, the Eternal Word, our God, became man through the incarnation and became Emmanuel, God with us. God came to us through one of our own, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the epitome of an obedient servant. The almighty God became a servant of the Father through His Mother, another obedient servant. But, that was not the end. And that is the game change today. Jesus Christ, the servant that Isaiah prophesied in the first reading today, was baptized in the Jordan, by another one of God’s servants, John the Baptist. The heavens opened to Christ, the Spirit came down in the form of a dove and a voice rang out from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”
Through God’s will and the Baptism of Jesus Christ, human nature now had the ability to be raised to a higher level. As St. Paul put it, we have the ability to become no longer servants, but God’s very own children. The Baptism of Jesus Christ allows us to be Baptized into Him, and therefore become God’s Children, rather than little pawns in some game. This is a game changer, if you know anything about mythology — the various gods used human beings for their playthings, demanded tribute, exacted revenge upon them, punished them not to correct them, but to destroy them. The idea that we can be beloved sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven, through Baptism into His Son changed everything. We can now go to Heaven, we can now live in freedom during our lives on Earth. That is now the possibility for each of us. Because we have been told this truth all our lives, we might take it for granted — because most of us were probably baptized as infants, we might take it for granted — and that is why I am belaboring this point so much — this is not just trivia, this is great news for each of us that we need to reflect upon daily in our lives.
For, often enough, we don’t feel free. We still suffer from the sins of the world and the sins of our own — we still suffer illnesses and death — we suffer anxiety, depression, and fear — we suffer from lack of security and uncertainty. We can name what we suffer and we don’t feel freedom there. And that is why we need to recall this good news, this great news that we are beloved children of our loving Father in heaven. We need to bring those troubles to Him, we need to bring our lack of freedom to Him, we need to find freedom in Him when we do not feel freedom in this world. We are no longer servants who are playthings or pawns, we are beloved sons and daughters of a loving God who created us, became one of us, was baptized for us, and suffered and died on the Cross for us. The game has indeed changed, let us live in that knowledge.