“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him… Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
Thank you for joining as we testify to our Lord Jesus Christ.
To testify, to give witness, to proclaim the truth – this is the charge we received in baptism.
In the Baptismal Rite the one to be baptized receives salt, the savor of wisdom and truth that the name of Jesus should be in our mouths, their lips are blessed that their mouths may be opened to proclaim Christ. These serious charges are an obligation of duty on us from baptism to our grave. An adjunct to this is that the ears are also blessed that they may be opened to hear Jesus, the proclaimed gospel that is way, truth, and life.
John and later St. Paul testify to Jesus, one as His precursor paving the way and pointing toward Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God and the other His apostle, going throughout the world to preach the gospel of salvation that is in Christ Jesus.
We here, in this parish church, dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, are who Paul is describing: ‘those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus.’
Paul further states that we have been sanctified in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy.
This is more than a reminder at the beginning of this new calendar year of who we are to be and Who we are to proclaim; further how we are to live. Reminders, while nice, do not precipitate action. Any wife or husband can tell you how many times they have reminded their spouse to do so and so without result. How many teachers can testify to the fact that they remind certain students all the time, send home notes, write it in their ‘agenda book,’ or send Emails with little to no effect.
Jesus did not come to remind us. Not at all. That was the job of the prophets who came before Him to remind Israel of their obligations to God and of His promise to them. Even John the Forerunner came to remind the people of the promised Messiah and to call them to conversion in advance – Prepare the way, reminding them of what they must do. Jesus instead came to call us to action, to open ears to hear, to open mouths to speak, to free what was locked up for all to see and hear.
No, no reminders. We have been sanctified in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy. That is an ongoing state of being. Older, retired, worked for God all your life? You cannot retire or stop for you are called to be holy. Parents who had their children baptized? You cannot stay away, write it off, cheat their ears and leave their mouths empty of the gospel for you are called to be holy as are your children. Teens, college graduates, mid-life everyday job folks – you are called to be holy.
Tomorrow, we honor someone who lived their call to be holy with ears that heard the cry of the oppressed and opened his mouth to speak the Lord’s truth concerning each person’s humanity and dignity. Today, we recognize where we have failed in our call to be holy.
We have been charged to testify, witness, and proclaim. Starting now we live our baptism and set to action for He is the Son of God.