Today marks the end of the Christmas season and provides another moment for us to reflect and receive the gift of the Incarnation.  When I was in High School in the late 1980s, everyone searched for and clung to an identity within the school community.  Maybe it’s the same now, but back in the 80s there were the athletes, or “the Jocks,” the good students, or “the Nerds,” those who liked Heavy Metal music, or the “Head bangers,” those who dressed in the newest fashions, or “the Preppies,” and those who liked Punk music, or “the Punks.”  Certainly not an exhaustive list, but what is clear are two things.  First, we all search for an identity, and second, once we find it, we cling to it with great tenacity.  This is because every human being yearns to belong, to have a sense of community and a place within it.  If this desire is so universal within our hearts, then it must be from God.  At the same time, however, while we may have particular identities, some short and other long lasting, no identity articulated in this world is ultimately who we are.  Who we are can only be found in and through God.

With the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, God reveals and gives to us our true and eternal identity.  After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and he came out of the water, the scripture tells us that a voice from the heavens spoke.  God the Father proclaimed that “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  We may think that it makes perfect sense for God the Father to say this of God the Son, but how do these words affect us?  The Church teaches that through the humanity of the Lord, through his Incarnation, we are drawn by the Son into the relationship he shares with the Father.  This means that the words the Father spoke to and of the Son, so too are those words spoken to and of us.  Through Christ we have become the children of God.  Through Christ it is revealed to us that God is “well pleased” by us, that we are his delight.  Here then is our identity.  It is not given or confirmed by others, it is given eternally to us by God.  It is an identity that may be denied by us, but can never be lost.  God is the guarantor.  This truth is of the utmost importance for us.  As God tells us in Isaiah: “Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.”

God Bless and Take Care,

Fr. John