Sunday, January 9, 2011

Because He is Emmanuel

This afternoon my family will remove the lights from our Christmas tree, which now stands on our front porch, and haul the tree to the curb. Then our borough will collect it and grind it to mulch.

It is time for the tree to come down because this feast day, the Baptism of our Lord, marks the end of the Christmas season, and the beginning of Christ's public ministry.

Christ is baptized in the River Jordan, not because He needs to free Himself of original sin. He is, after all, without sin. No, He does so that He can enter into our humanity and become one with us. This means that from the start, Christ is someone who longs for relationship with us. He wants to meet us where we are and then help us deepen  in holiness.

"Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ," our Catechism teaches. " This union is called mystical because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments." 

As we celebrate our Lord's baptism, let us call to mind our own. And as we enter Ordinary Time, let's remember Christ stands beside us. The Prophet  Isaiah foretold a Messiah whose name would be "Emmanuel,"  meaning "God is with us."

"What Christ brought into life with his incarnation, Death and resurrection is a novelty that allows us to live everything that life is," says Fr. Julian Carron. "The drama of living with a different outlook on reality...Christ came answering, making himself contemporaneous, and He continues to accompany us."