Christmas V – The Baptism of the Lord

Christmas V – The Baptism of the Lord
2015 – Cycle B
Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12; I John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11

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“All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You, who have no money, come, receive grain and eat
come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!”
“Heed me,…Come to me…that you may have life.” [See Isaiah 55:1-3]

The Christmas Season wonderfully concludes with an eternal invitation to us. Did you accept it this year?

My experience is that people today often do not reply to invitations. The situation is such that people now send out announcements ahead of time that a formal invitation to a wedding, graduation, or birthday will be coming in the future – reserve the day now! Still RSVPs are often ignored or are not responded to in a timely manner. Some people respond positively but never attend an event…something more enticing came up in their life?

Despite our reticence, our busy-ness, our impoliteness to often even respond; God continually and with great persistence sends out, even on this last day of the Christmas season, the invitation: “Come to me…that you may have life.” Just in case that those of us who have not yet responded might still do so. That is how much God desires our presence to enter into the eternal dance of the Divine Trinity.

It is interesting to reflect on who does and does not accept the invitation.

  • Magi, outsiders, people who are thirsty for truth accept and make a great effort in attending.
  • Shepherds, the poor and those people on the fringe of society who have no money attend. In our culture, read “no money” as having “no power”.
  • Heaven attends with the presence of wondrous stars and angels. Earth attends with roaring seas, rejoicing lands and exulting trees as the psalm records and as we proclaim in the Nicene Creed, “things visible and invisible”.
  • Simeon and the prophetess Anna attend, people who quietly live out God’s will.

The only people who do not respond to the invitation are Herod, the chief priests and scribes and all Jerusalem. People who are fearful, people who are interestingly aware, the insiders – should they not have been the first to respond and attend? Ah yes, something more important must have come up, I’m sure; something more important than life?

Christmas is seemingly a movement toward God; everyone goes to Bethlehem, correct? Have you considered the opposite, that Christmas first and foremost is a movement of God toward humanity? In God becoming a human being is not our movement toward Bethlehem a response to God’s invitation?

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 3:2]

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men and women.” [Mark 1:17]

“Come and you will see” [John 1:39]

“Behold, I have prepared my banquet…everything is ready, come to the feast.”                                                                                                              [Matthew 22:4]

“Even now, return to me with your whole heart….” [Joel 2:12]

We are sent this invitation every Advent through John the Baptist; at the beginning of Ordinary Time by Jesus; Ash Wednesday and Lent through the prophets. In one form or another as we do again this Christmas the invitation arrives: “Come to me…that you may have life.” The only requirement to this invitation is that we be hungry and thirsty for God accepting our neediness and spiritual poverty. Pride, self-righteousness, and self-indulgence are what keep us from acknowledging and accepting the invitation. Thus God’s question, so apropos for our culture,  “Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy?”  [Isaiah 55:2]

So, how was your Christmas?

Did you accept the invitation?

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