I was walking around the faith formation classes. One of the students said they actually missed me last weekend. I did miss being with you all, but it was so amazing to be with over 17,000 college students who were on fire for Jesus and the Catholic Church. The SEEK conference in Indianapolis was amazing. Again, I don’t know what the future of our individual communities are, but I know the future of the Catholic Church is in great hands. The young people just want the truth. They don’t want things watered down. They love reverence. They love the Eucharist, Mass, Adoration. They want to be challenged to live a life of holiness; not just told they are okay doing the things they are doing. Again, they did two years ago in Austin, TX, the students broke the fire code for the building. There were so many students in line for Confession, they had to ask some of them to sit down because of the fire code. Statistically we are losing the young people. Less and less of them are coming to Mass and being active in a parish. But let me tell you. The ones who are involved, the ones who get it, are going to set the world on fire for Christ and the Catholic Church. It is our job as catechists, as priests, but especially as parents, to raise up the children in our care to be part of the remnant that sets the world on fire for Christ, to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to be a disciple, and to disciple others into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ. It is the last day of the Christmas season. Monday starts the beginning of Ordinary Time in the Catholic Church calendar. Today we hear Luke’s account of the Baptism of Jesus. There are not a whole lot of details. John the Baptist tells the people that he is baptizing with water, but that Jesus will come to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Also, in John 3:5, Jesus answers Nicodemus, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” This is why we don’t just do “spiritual baptisms,” but we use physical water when we baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” just as Jesus told the Apostles to do so in Mathew 28:19.
In Jesus baptism, the water doesn’t wash away His sins (because He has none). Instead of the water blessing Him, He blesses water so that it can be used in our Baptism. In His Baptism, Jesus makes water a blessing to us. Jesus’ Baptism makes our Sacramental Baptism possible. When Jesus comes out of the water, the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” God the Father says this to all of us because of our baptism. As the parable of the Prodigal Son proves to us, no matter what we have done, we still the son or daughter of God the Father.
May God continue to bless and keep you,