Thursday, January 3, 2013

Friday before Epiphany

A deacon I work with teased me the other day about a radio program he heard which claimed that men with beards are trying to hide their identity. I don’t know about that; I had beard because I don’t like to shave and, most of all, because my wife liked it!

However, the reality is that all of us here this morning have an identity that is far too precious to ever try and hide- either with a beard or anything else. We’re reminded of this by today’s gospel. It spoke of Jesus’ baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him and God the Father proclaimed him to be his beloved son.

This calls to mind our baptisms, when you and I were adopted as God’s beloved sons and daughters. Through baptism, we are the children of God; we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. That is our identity. That is who we are.

Yet sometimes the attractions, temptations, and attitudes of the world we live in can lead us to forget our identity through sin, or to try and hide it because of embarrassment. As today’s first reading explained, however, we Christians are called not to conform to the world, but to be victorious over it. We would be wise, therefore, to heed the words of St. Leo the Great in a famous Christmas homily. "Christian, remember your dignity," he wrote. "Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit."

(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press: It is available also at Amazon: )

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