Many people in St. Luke’s account of this Gospel reading is wondering to themselves if John the Baptist is the Messiah. They have witnessed him call many sinners to conversion. They witness him challenge the civil authority of Herod and is proclaiming the Kingdom of God is near. They wonder if he is Elijah or one of the Ancient prophets of God who came back. But he speaks to the people “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Physically he is Jesus’s Cousin, yet from the time of his conception in the womb of his mother Elizabeth, when the Mother of the Most High, Mary came to see her, Jesus who is the Word Incarnate sanctified him while he was in Mary’s womb. He knew from the very depths of his heart that Jesus is the Son of God. This is one of the Gifts of God the Holy Spirit. The gift of Knowledge was given to John and he understood his mission. He was to get the people of Israel ready for Jesus.
When Jesus finally came into the water to be baptized, he had no sin. But to completely surrender to the will of God, he offered himself. When John the Baptist poured water over the head of Jesus, Heaven opened. The revelation of the Holy Trinity is shown in this Gospel. God the Holy Spirit came down from heaven to sanctify God the Son. God the Father spoke from heaven and said, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The evangelist Luke has shown in his writing on the awesome Mercy of God. God the Father, who is perfect, sent his Son, Jesus who is the perfect offering and was blessed by the Holy Spirit who offers a perfect blessing. Only a Perfect God can offer a perfect offering for the redemption of sin. Only a Loving God who loved us so much sent his loving Son to save us. God wants to sanctify everyone. That is why he chose a fishman, who was later called Peter to be the “rock”. This foundation that Jesus established was to bring us to the family of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus gave Peter and all the apostles the power to baptize, give absolutions for the forgiveness of sins, ordain menin Holy orders, bless marriages, offering the holy chrism for the sick and more importantly to bring the presence of Jesus on the High Altar for us to consume. We must always remember that these are gifts that we don’t deserve. It was freely offered by God because he loved us and wants to save us. We must all answer the call and offer him who is Holy, the highest praise. Christ is our strength, he is our nourishment as St. Padre Pio said. Let us now be good stewards to the world and continue to bring more souls to God and bring our finest gifts to the banquet. Let us do good in this life and show love. For God will judge us on how much we have loved on the earth. How we have loved to strive to bring his kingdom to others.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Amen!