Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Vaclav Havel on Hope, Matthew3:13-17
Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash
Twenty years ago, on the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, I was on sabbatical in Italy, and on this particular Sunday I was in Assisi at the Basilica of St Francis. The Abbot began his homily that day by saying, “With the baptism of Jesus we have all been baptized.” I had never thought of it that way before, but he was right. Every baptism has its roots in that moment Jesus stepped into the Jordan River
with John the Baptist. It was a moment of revelation, but also a moment of dedication and commitment to a particular journey. Orthodox Christians kick the signiﬁcance up a notch by observing that Jesus’ presence in the Jordan River that day had the effect of blessing all the water in the world. So, today is a ﬁtting opportunity to remember our baptism and to reﬂect on what it means in the world today.
The DNA of what it means to be Christian is embedded in the Baptismal Covenant. We will be invited to renew our baptismal vows in the service today. We will respond, “I will, with God’s help” to questions like:
Read More »Hope for the world
• Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
• Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
• Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain, and renew the life of the Earth?
The Golden Rule is baked into the Baptismal Covenant, as is peacemaking and care for the environment. To live our baptismal promises intentionally is to steer the world toward the peaceable kingdom envisioned by the prophet Isaiah and the reign of God that Jesus described through stories and encounters with others. Baptism taken seriously is a sign of hope in a world ﬁlled with strife, greed, and confusion. But regard for baptism has somewhat of a chequered history.