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Baptism of the Lord

Addressing God as Father

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Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

Today the celebrations centered on the birth of Jesus come to an end. At that time no one would have thought that we would still remember that fact today, two thousand years later. At that time, the birth of Jesus might have seemed like one of the countless births destined for anonymity. He seemed destined to remain at the antipodes of notoriety.  Jesus, the son of poor people, was born in an ordinary village in a remote part of the great sea of the Roman Empire. He was born not in an ordinary house in the town but outside, in a cave used as a shelter for animals.  He was then immediately forced to flee abroad and later, until he was thirty years old and more, He was an unknown worker in another even more insignificant village.

But as everyone knows, this was not the case. Jesus did not remain at the antipodes of notoriety; on the contrary, Christians soon realized that their Lord entered the world in order to make Himself known, and thus to bring the fullness of His gift to all. Thus, with the feast of Epiphany, they began to celebrate God’s Will to reveal Jesus: Epiphany is a word that comes from the Greek; it means "manifestation".

The entire life of Jesus, if we look closely, is a continuous epiphany, from when He was just born and was recognized by the shepherds, to when the incredulous Thomas could touch the living body of the Risen One.  To celebrate the manifestation of Jesus, Christians chose three particular episodes from His life. The visit of the Magi is only one of the three, expressing God’s will to manifest Himself not only to the Jews but to all peoples. The second episode is that of the wedding at Cana: by changing water into wine so as not to ruin the feast of those gathered, Jesus manifests Himself as the bearer of happiness. The third is the episode we read about in today's gospel (Mk 1:7-11), which speaks of Jesus in His thirties, so it acts as a bridge between the gospels of childhood and those of adult life, which we will hear about in the coming Sundays.

The scene develops on the banks of the Jordan River, where the austere but very esteemed John (the Baptist) prepares the people for the imminent arrival of the Messiah announced by the prophets; John does this with a vibrant preaching, to which he adds a penitential sign, baptism. However, he makes it clear that this sign is provisional: " I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.". After these words, the evangelist Mark continues: " And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.

Here we have a grandiose epiphany. Jesus is identified as the Messiah - to say it in the Greek language ‘the Christ’- announced, awaited for centuries and centuries has finally come, demonstrating that God is faithful to His promises. The Christ present there is not only a man, but is proclaimed by God as His Son. The Holy Spirit joins God who speaks declaring Himself Father and the Son present in human form: it is the epiphany of the Trinity, the unexpected revelation of the intimate divine nature. And it is the revelation that Jesus associates man with the divine intimacy, through baptism "in the Holy Spirit".

The Christian  can find in this page almost a synthesis of his faith, and in particular an invitation to reconsider his own baptism. The custom of conferring the sacrament of baptism on infants is completely legitimate, well-founded and appropriate; but it presents the risk of not perceiving it in all its grandeur. It is enough to remember that it gives access to all the other sacraments, because it establishes a new relationship between God and man. Baptism is an incomparable divine gift by which those who have received it are assimilated to Jesus, and like Him they can address God by calling Him Father.

In the passage of November 27, 1927 Jesus tells Luisa that one who lets herself be dominated by the Divine Will, by virtue of It, receives the divine fecundity, and with this fecundity she can generate in others what she possesses. With this divine fecundity the soul forms the most beautiful and long generation, which will bring her the glory, the cortege, of having many births generated in her very acts. She will see, coming out from within herself, the generation of the children of light, of happiness, of divine sanctity. Oh! how beautiful, holy and pure is the fecundity of the seed of the Divine Volition! It is light, and generates light; it is holy, and generates holiness; it is strong, and generates strength; it possesses all goods, and generates peace, joy and happiness. If you knew what good will the fecund seed of this Volition, so holy, bring to you, and then to all, as it knows how to generate, and can generate, in every instant, all the goods it possesses!

This is how the height of the Sovereign Queen was able to generate the Eternal Word with no one’s work. In fact, by not giving life to Her human will, She only gave life to the Divine Will, and by this She acquired the fullness of the seed of the divine fecundity, and was able to generate the One whom Heaven and earth could not contain. And not only could She generate Him within Herself, in Her maternal womb, but She could generate Him in all creatures. How noble and long is the generation of the children of the Celestial Queen; She generated everyone in that Divine Fiat which can do anything and encloses everything. So, the Divine Will raises the creature and renders Her sharer in the fecundity of the Celestial Paternity. What power, how many sublime mysteries does It not possess!

don Marco
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