John, the Baptist is called to fulfill two missions as God’s herald. His first mission was to prepare the way of the Lord; calling the world to repent their sins and be baptized. His second mission was to herald the news that Jesus was the Christ, the beloved One of God, Son of the Father who was coming into the world and that He would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit. In his mission as herald, John is the first witness to Jesus. He is the first to declare to the world that Jesus is the Son of God.
In last week’s Gospel we hear, as Jesus emerges from the waters, God announce that Jesus is, “My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” God makes claim and reveals that Jesus is called and sent by Him into the world. He is Son of God, beloved and pleasing in all things.
We are unsure if God’s revelation was witnessed by all present at the Jordan, but it was revealed to John. With the vision of the Spirit of God descending in the form of a dove, God reveals and confirms to John that Jesus is the Christ, the one who is coming to bring salvation to the people. God calls John to be witness to this revelation and confirms that God’s favor rests on Jesus; announcing the news to the whole world. In his mission as herald, John is witness to the reality of Jesus, declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him who is to take away the sins of the world.”
God’s revelation is a confirmation of Jesus. It is confirmation of his power and authority and of his mission of salvation. He is the Word of God, we are to believe in Him and, as Mary, Jesus’ Mother said at the wedding feast in Cana, “Do what he tells you.”
In this we should be reminded of our own confirmation. Our own being sealed in the Holy Spirit. In the Sacrament of Confirmation we are called to be like John – heralds of the Good News of Jesus Christ. We too are called to reveal to the world that Jesus is the Son of God and it is through Him that we will attain salvation and peace in God’s heavenly kingdom.
Our Confirmation matures the grace we received in Baptism; increases and deepens our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In Baptism we are claimed by Christ for His Church. In Confirmation we are sealed in His Spirit to become more fully children of God. We are firmly united and configured with Christ, perfected in His Church.
The Holy Spirit is poured out on us in a special way; sealing us with the Gifts of the Spirit of God. We increase in wisdom, understanding, counsel, courage, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. In the Gifts of the Holy Spirit we are strengthened and increased, so we may be more fervent defenders of the faith, helping us to fulfill the mission of Jesus to bring the Good News to the world. As we are filled with His Spirit we may make known God’s love for all of his children; working to bring about His justice and peace.
Just as John was called as witness to God’s beloved Son and herald His coming into the world – ‘the one who was mightier than he’, - we too are called to be heralds of the mighty power of God in our lives and to witness the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. We are called to announce the Good News, by word and example, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Be strengthened in the Lord, find courage to be witnesses to our belief and in Jesus Christ, as the beloved Son of God. Share with one another the journey of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to lead others to the truth in the person of Jesus in our own affection for the Lord.
Let our lives reflect the love God has for each of us and bring His love into the lives of all we meet in the world, so, Jesus may be exalted and
“. . . that at the name of Jesus
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God, the Father ~ Amen
Deacon Don Ron