The Baptism of the Lord
Lk 3:15-16, 21-22
January 9, 2021
When I was half the age I am today, I saw a movie called Cocoon. In spite of the many years that have passed, it came to my mind as I was reflecting on today’s Feast of The Baptism of The Lord.
The film is considered “science fiction/fantasy.” The setting is a retirement village in Florida. The leading characters are all senior citizens; played by older actors who had long disappeared from the covers of the tabloids. I recall being amazed that these actors were still alive…let alone still making movies.
The plot involves “extra-terrestrials” …aliens from another planet. They somehow infused the water in a residential swimming pool with a “life force.” When residents of the assisted living community snuck in for a dip, they found themselves recovering from age related ailments, rejuvenated and energized. Gradually, it dawned on them that they had literally jumped into a fountain of youth.
No need for a “spoiler alert.” Having seen the movie in 1987, I recall little more than I have already shared; except for this.
Faced with the potential of “living forever” one of the wives explained to her husband that she was not at all interested. His reply is very memorable… something to the effect of: I’d rather live for only 6 more months with you…than “forever” without you!
Really? You don’t see the connection between the movie and The Baptism of the Lord?
Let me begin my explanation with a quote from Vatican II theologian Fr. Karl Rahner SJ.
“In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic (one who has experienced God for real) or nothing at all.”
In the (many) days since I saw the movie Cocoon…a science fiction/fantasy…what back then was regarded as science fiction has become reality. (The internet, cell phones, robots and artificial intelligence, space tourism…etc. etc.) But what was commonly understood and appreciated to be truth…pure reality…has by many, been pushed into the realm of fantasy. (Eternal life!)
Why is this?
I would suggest because with the passing of time, fewer and fewer people are “mystics.”
You don’t have to be a saint to be a mystic. Every ordinary person, who commits to seeking a deeper and personal union with God, is already dipping their toe into mysticism. And a very good place to begin the adventure into what is above and beyond us in this world, is the Baptismal Font.
You see, our all-loving God preferred not to “live forever” without sharing the joys of the Eternal Kingdom with the creatures called into being for that very purpose. We exist so that God can share perfect and endless love with us.
To make this plan a reality, God sent Jesus into our world to invite humankind into a “deeper and more more personal union” with The Father. And so, The Son, through teaching and preaching, and by way of example, showed us how to become mystics. A dramatic and profound lesson in mysticism took place in the Jordan River. With the Baptism of The Lord we have a brilliant example of the perfect union between God and Jesus.
Moreover, by stepping into the water of the Jordan River for Baptism, God the Son infused our Baptismal waters with the most powerful Life Force…The Holy Spirit. Through our own Baptisms, The Holy Spirit calls into life, that part of us which is intended to “live forever” in the Kingdom of God. On the day of our Baptism, the heavens do open…and God gazes down with love and introduces us to the universe even as The Father introduced The Son. HERE IS MY BELOVED CHILD WITH WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED!
We bring the Christmas Season to a close today. Next week, we begin Ordinary Time. But, when we enter our churches and dip our hands into the Living and Spirit filled waters …we have the opportunity to see how “Extraordinary” our earthly lives can be. When we touch the Living Water of our Baptismal Fonts, the Life Source rejuvenates, refreshes and energizes what was awakened within us through Baptism. When we “bless ourselves” we begin to recover from “sin related ailments” that blind us to who we truly are: CHILDREN OF GOD!
So, enter Ordinary Time this year as a mystic…seeking a deeper and more personal union with God…Who is eager to be in an eternal relationship with you. Very quickly you will come to see as reality, what others tragically have declared to be fantasy.