First Sunday of Epiphany

Homily by Fr. Jun Peñalosa

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 89

Second Reading: Acts 10:34-38

Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22



The first Sunday after the season of Epiphany is the church celebration of the “Feast of Jesus Christ’s Baptism.” Why do we celebrate this? “To remind us of our own baptism.”

Looking back on the story of Jesus’ baptism, gives us a glimpse of what happened during our own baptism. The baptism that John the Baptist made by the Jordan river were baptisms of repentance in order to prepare the people for the great baptism to be made by our Lord Jesus Christ – the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. The baptism of Jesus by John is made not just to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah; but to fulfil the righteousness of God through Jesus; and Jesus is the only One who can make us righteous in God.

In the Gospel reading, when Jesus is praying while being baptized, the Holy Spirit came to Him in the form of a dove, and John heard the voice of the Father affirming, “This is my beloved Son, in Him I am well pleased.” This particular event shows us, that wherever Jesus is, the Father is there, and the Holy Spirit is there also. They are inseparable! This accounts also the event when we were baptized – the heaven was opened, the Holy Spirit came to us, and the voice of our Father speaking to us, “His beloved son or daughter, and with us, He is well pleased”. Knowing this truth, we can enjoy life and live happily every day.

Isaiah, as the prophet of the coming of Christ, not only speaks of what Jesus would do being the Anointed One, but prophesied also of bringing justice and love. Basically, it means that the anointing of God to us will cause us to walk in justice. We need to understand that the purpose of our baptism is to immerse us in Christ, so that when we rise up, we will walk in justice and will live in love.

“To be reminded of our baptism is to be reminded also of our responsibility.” Yes, we have benefits in baptism. We became adopted sons and daughters; we can pray to God and ask Him anything we want. But let us be reminded as well, that with benefits, come along responsibilities. And as adopted children, we are immersed in Christ; therefore, it is our responsibility to bring out Christ and be bearers of Christ in our lives! As one who received the anointing in baptism, it is our responsibility to walk in justice. And how does God bring us justice? He brings us to a right relationship with Him! And this is what expected of us – to live and walk daily in righteousness.

As baptized Christians, it is our responsibility to do what is right – not right with our own eyes, but right in the eyes of God; to walk in justice and live in love. Every day, we intend to live in love – the newness of life. Let us therefore be patient and forgiving with one another, for love is a life-learning process.

Today, we are reminded of our baptism with Christ. Father Jun encouraged us then, “to live consciously and deliberately” every day. Let it be not just a habit, but a decision, with consciousness and willingness to do what is right, to walk in justice and live in love. Further, he urged us to always have that attitude of gratitude to the newness of our life. +

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