The Baptism of the Lord – January 13, 2013
“[…] After all the people had been baptized and Jesus had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened […].” Jesus’ baptism opened Heaven to us all. For each of us, the day of our baptism was the moment when Heaven was opened for us. Since that day, God’s infinite mercy entered our lives. The continual rediscovery of this reality allows us to change, to become better persons.
Last Friday, I went to see the movie “Les Miserables,” an adaptation of the famous musical. It is a beautiful movie! I recommend it to all of you. Jean Valjean was a man who was imprisoned for stealing bread to give to his sister’s son. He spends nineteen years in prison. When he is released from jail, he cannot find a job. He is in misery, hungry and without a place to sleep. He is rescued from the street by a bishop who brings him to his house, feeds him and gives him a bed to sleep in. During the night, Valjean steals all the silver in the house. When the police catch him, he claims that the bishop had given him the silver but they say he is lying. The policemen bring him to the bishop, who tells them that he had indeed given Valjean all the silver. He also says that he forgot the best part and gave him two silver candlesticks. Valjean is completely conquered by this unexpected gesture of mercy and love. The bishop tells him: “And remember this, my brother, See in this some high plan. You must use this precious silver to become an honest man.” Valjean changes his life completely. He becomes more than an honest man: he became a good man. He found that he was loved, which made him return the love he had received. He spends his life doing good to different people. I shall not tell you any more details so that you will watch the movie!
What allows us to become better persons is not our resolutions, our efforts or our plans. It is the surprise of God’s mercy in our lives, which transforms our lives. Change is born from the continual discovery that we are loved by God. We were chosen, our names were written in heaven. This happened on the day of our baptism.
After Jesus’ baptism, “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. A voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son.’” Jesus was baptized in order for the Father’s voice to reach each one of us. On the day of our baptism, God said: “You are my beloved son, you are mine, you belong to me.”
We need to listen to this voice over and over, although we can easily forget it. We forget that we belong to Him, we forget our dignity. Our Father is so good that He not only gave us the Sacrament of Baptism but also gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in order for us to listen to “you are my son” infinitely. Every time I go to confession, it is possible for me to be certain of God’s love.
It is God’s mercy that changes us and transforms us into better persons. A changed person changes the world.
Let us ask for the grace to rediscover the grace contained in our baptism every day. Let us for ask the grace to be increasingly certain of God’s love for us.Amen.