HOMILY & IDEAS

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Mt 3:13-17.

Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots for you.

And a voice came from the heavens, saying, -- This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

The two accounts in the Gospels where God speaks from the heavens about his son have always been moving and intriguing to me. God speaks from the heavens here at the Baptism of Jesus and at the Transfiguration.

At other times in the Gospels God sends messages via his celestial currier service and sometimes in dreams. However, it is only in these to aforementioned scenes where we hear the voice of God descend to His creation from heaven.

I enjoy contemplating the intention of God -- with humility, of course, lest I get reduced to a pile of ash.

All kidding aside, why this affirmation of His Son, and why now? Were these words of God arbitrary, universal and timeless? Did God wake up on this particular morning and say to Himself -- Gee, that Son of Mine is just the best! I think I will do something special today! Or, did something cause God to speak these words at this time in history for all those within earshot to hear?

The words seem to be directed to those present rather than to Jesus himself. Otherwise perhaps God would have begun with YOU are my beloved Son. Instead, God begins with THIS.

When I contemplate the words God spoke from the heavens on this day I am simply reminded that I am following the right guy. The point may sound painfully obvious and unsophisticated, but I would guess that there are times in the lives of all Christians where fatigue, darkness, doubt, and depression settles into ones soul for a number of reasons. No one is immune to these things.

It is at times like these in my own life that I am lead to this piece of scripture and also to the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus -- for there is it added -- Listen to Him!

It is here that I am reminded by the spoken word of God himself that the words, actions, love, compassion, mercy, humility, courage, and obedience of Jesus are to be lived in my own life as much as I possibly can.

Why? Because like Jesus I am baptized into this Christian family and it is in Jesus that the Father is well pleased. I want the Father to be pleased with me also. However, I want to please the Father for the best of reasons. Not so I get something in return. Not so I can try to merit the love of the Father. Rather, simply to express back the unfathomable love that I have felt from God.

Love born from utter gratitude is beautiful and pure.

Perhaps it sound like too simple of a Gospel message to preach on this weekend -- You are following the right guy -- but I think people may be able to benefit from the affirmation that it is all worth it, for we know how the story ends. We know what joy comes from the resurrection no matter what hardships preceded that event in the life of Jesus.

We ourselves are hit with hardships, slumps, bumps and left-field hardballs. Nevertheless, as baptized Catholics we value these two events where God speaks not for the benefit of Jesus but for the benefit of his followers. This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Yes, I believe you God. And in my hour of darkness, doubt and confusion, direct me to these words so that I might find my way back to you and live and love as your Son lived and loved.

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