Homily for Monday, May 18, 2015

Readings for Today

In the early Church there was a problem with distinguishing the place and relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist, especially when considering the question of baptism. John moved into a baptism that was a sign and symbol of repentance. Yet he baptized Jesus, who was in no need of repentance. There were those who heard John preach and thought he might be the Messiah, the anointed sent be God for the Jewish people. And even today’s first reading shows the confusion between the baptism received by John, and the baptism celebrated by the early Church after the resurrection of Jesus. So just what is the difference?

First, it is important to know that there was a qualitative difference between the two. Those who were baptized by John that we read about today did not know of the Holy Spirit, and it can be presumed, of John’s clarification of his role and that of Jesus.The baptism of John was a concrete sign of the desire to repent and believe in Jesus, who was to come, whose sandal John is not worthy of untying. John even says to Jesus that he should be baptized by Jesus, and not the other way around.

The baptism of John was a necessary preparation for the preaching of Jesus, insofar as it prepared people to know of the mercy of God for those who are willing to repent. It was the outcasts, the marginalized who embraced the preaching of John and his call to repent with great enthusiasm. It is the baptism of Jesus that fully removes sin, and enables us to enter into the deep relationship that leads to eternal life.

When they are baptized in the sacrament, they are transformed. They receive the Spirit, they become deeply aware of God and their relationship with him. Today we see baptism and confirmation in the reading from Paul. Do you ever think of how you are called to be changed because of your baptism and confirmation? Ideally these are moments when we are profoundly committed to the following of Jesus. These are moments when we become deeply aware of our choice to leave everything and follow Jesus wherever he may lead us. Will you follow Jesus?

Homily for Saturday, May 16, 2015

Readings for Today

It is important to acknowledge great people of the faith. Each of us in our lives probably have a person or two (or maybe even more) who served as a great inspiration for us in the ways of the faith. For me I think of my grandmother, my parents, and other relatives, as well as priest and friends I have met along the way. From them I have learned much about how to live the faith, how to be a Christian. This is not to say I have always lived up to these examples, but it is to say that I have learned much from these people who believed so deeply in Jesus.

What is interesting when we consider those people who have influenced our faith, is that rarely can we say they were always right. There were times when they believed things that we came to see later, by grace and instruction were not true. Such is the case with a man that Paul mentions in his readings, a man named Apollos. He is an expert on Scripture, and can speak eloquently about the Scripture and how it verifies the person of Jesus. But his knowledge is not complete.

He only knows of the baptism of John, and thus has not experienced the full outpouring of the Spirit that comes from the baptism of Jesus through the early Church. Yet, this does not make him any less an expert, but rather serves as a reminder that we can never understand the mysteries of God completely. Our lives are a constant path of trying to learn more and more about the faith. Our lives are more and more about trying to know better and better this Jesus whom we seek to follow.

And so the invitation today is to pledge to continue to learn more and more about Jesus. We can never exhaust our quest for Jesus, but we can grow, even if only in little baby steps, we can grow into a more fulfilling relationship with our Lord.