January 13, 2019 – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
I delivered the following homily on this feast day in 2014 at St. Pius X Church, Indianapolis:
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. After Jesus was baptized, the sky opened up and a dove came to rest on Him. A voice from the heavens said, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” As with yesterday’s celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord, God was once again revealing Himself to His people.
The epiphany is not just a series of Bible stories. It is an ongoing phenomenon. If we are paying attention, God is continually revealing Himself to us.
To those who are open, there are “God moments” all around us.
Several years ago, my father-in-law was in hospice care in the hospital, and the family was being prepared for the fact that Joe was going to die. Carol, her mom, and her sisters were spending most of their time at the hospital. They were all exhausted. I took some time off work to go and sit with Joe, hoping to give the girls a break and let them get away for a short time.
When I arrived, they went off to get something to eat, leaving Joe and I alone in his room. I sat in a chair along the wall, about three feet from Joe’s bed. His system was shutting down, and we were told he was unaware of his surroundings. He was making agitated noises. There were random facial tics and jerking body movements. We were told the noises and movements were all involuntary.
I pulled my rosary from my pocket, leaned forward, and began to pray in an audible whisper. As I did so, Joe’s agitation and movements seemed to lessen. I pulled my chair closer and continued praying the rosary, now slightly louder. Joe was again visibly calmer. Finally, I pulled my chair right next to his bed and prayed the rosary aloud. For the next 10-15 minutes, as I prayed the rosary, Joe was completely at peace – no noises, no tics, no body movements. There was no doubt in my mind that God was there in the room with us. It was a God moment – an epiphany.
I stood on a dirt road on a mountain overlooking the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The devastation from the earthquake was unimaginable. Many thoughts ran through my head, including, What am I doing? What good can I possibly do here?
As I stood there in awe of the crumbled city, a little Haitian girl, maybe 6 years old, came alongside of me. She looked up at me as I looked down at her. She took my hand and stared at the devastation with me. There was no doubt in my mind that God was holding my hand. It was a God moment – an epiphany.
While these two examples are quite dramatic, God does not always reveal Himself in such dramatic ways. His presence is also made known to us in the simple events and interactions of our daily lives.
Our webmaster at school set up a website for the Christmas season that asked students to respond to the question: Where have you seen God in your life today?
Here are just a few of the responses:
*I found God today in my younger siblings. They are always so happy and carefree. They love everyone and are so innocent.
*I found God today when I woke up in the morning and saw my parents. I began to think about how hard they work for me.
*I found God in my friends who lifted me up with positive words when I was having a bad day.
If you are a sibling, or a parent, or a friend, you should know that you have the power to reveal God to others. God’s revelation can be very dramatic; but he also reveals Himself simply, most often through our interactions with others.
You may be asking yourself, “Why doesn’t this ever happen to me?” We need to train our eyes to see God revealing Himself to us. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul refers to seeing life through the eyes of your heart. He writes: “May the eyes of your heart be enlightened, that you may know hope…”
If we accept the fact that God reveals Himself to us each day, how do we train our eyes to see Him? How do we see through the eyes of our heart?
Like anything else it takes practice. We have to be deliberate in our attempts. We need to be open to His presence. We need to focus our attention outward. We need to allow God to work through others to touch our lives. We need to be thoughtful and reflective.
When you see life through the eyes of your heart, you may also discover that God is using you to reveal Himself to others.