Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον [Luke 1. 46b]

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Saint Matthew 3. 13-17
The Baptism of Our Lord: 13 January Anno Domini 2013
Father Watson SSP
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost

   The Baptism of Jesus by John is a consecratory event!  Had He only been a carpenter’s son His repentance and washing would still have been good and salutary—but it wouldn’t have mattered for any of you.  Had He been a sinner waiting for the coming Messias it would have been right to repent by this action, and like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Bartholomew, WAIT in faith.  But Jesus is the Son of the Most High. Jesus is Immanuel. 

   Some babies like their baths. In infant faith they trust their mothers. But self-willed and self-conscious children don’t want to be cleansed. The “old-Adam” which delights in sinning and being dirty spiritually can be seen in every youth that mutters disparagingly when told to wash its hands or to put on clean clothes.

    Before a patient, dying with inner rot can be operated upon; he must be cleansed with the pre-op disinfectants. Before and during God’s heart transplant into all His elect, the deceased are washed in God’s Blood as they are made alive again. With God it isn’t surgery but Resurrection; not a successful “procedure” but an Adoption into holiness.

   The Christ came to the Jordan not because He needed baptism but because you do. He was washed not because He was soiled and stained with sin, but because you are.  He came to John as the perfect and obedient Israel (no longer merely Jacob).  He came to obey all His Father’s desires—for they were His as well. The same WORD which from before the beginning was one with the Father and Spirit, the same God Who had created the oceans and the rivers was coming to use them, one of them, in a way which would again be for all of His elect.

   John had been chosen by God to be the prophetic voice in the wilderness who would point to and identify the physical, incarnated, arrival of God.  No longer would believers have visions, and hear voices, from only a pre-incarnate theophany, now they would see, hear, touch, and pour water upon, The God/Man! 

   This is no mere Historic reality. The story of Jacob and Esau’s reunion, where they forgave one-another is reality, but it doesn’t save you.  Jesus saves you. Jesus saved  AND saves you.  There is no past-tense with the Savior’s gifts.  There is no done & over status to your own baptisms, because Jesus is ever NOW!  Your font + of Grace has no freshness to expire and no battery life to run down.

   When the Lord spoke the Words of Institution over bread and wine a Godly consecration took place. What had been only bread and wine became His Body given and His Blood shed for the remission of sins.  His consecration never ends but echoes down through the history of His flock whenever His under shepherds speaks His words.  This is the same for His Baptism at the Jordan.  John was an under shepherd for Jesus.  God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost were the actors, the doers, the speakers of the consecratory words of Life and Forgiveness.

   Jesus came to Noah, albeit not as the Rabbi from Nazareth, and placed him and his family into a saving baptism.  Christ buoyed and held them safe in the font—the ark of the Church. They were washed and cleansed from all sin of the world, the flesh and Satan.  Eight came out of that re-birth to be Jesus’ family.  Eight is the number of eternity and is represented to this day on many 8-sided baptismal fonts.  Jesus came to Naaman the Syrian General, albeit through the word of His under shepherd Elisha.  That mighty General had his disfiguring and painful disease washed away by Jesus in the humble, slow-moving waters of the Jordan.  To that same Jordan Jesus would come 600 years later—in the flesh of the God/Man!  Naaman stepped out of the muddy Jordan clean, healed, and carrying faith in his soul. You came up from the Jordan—font cleansed from the stain of Adam’s fall, fresh, clean and clothed with Jesus. You are now, His brother, His sister.

    Christ had Peter throw a line into the sea to hook a fish, and then take from its mouth the stater (the shekel) to pay the tax that was demanded.  [Mt. 17. 26-27]     Christ stepped into sins dark deep mouth, a devil fish’s maw of death.  On the third day even the sealed tomb could not keep its fanged jaw clamped down on the Risen One!  Christ’s triumph is yours: “buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead.” [Col. 2. 12] 

    So too at the Jordan the heavens themselves opened as the Christ waded back to shore and climbed up into the crowd. The real temple curtain parted for all those baptized saints. No longer was Eden’s eternal rest and joy closed by a Seraph with a flaming sword, but now paradise was opened to all Baptized into Jesus.  It was Jesus’ very Body and Person which sanctified—made holy, the waters of that river and of every baptism. The Godhead’s Word does what it says: “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I Am well pleased.”

   This baptized Jesus would continue, as He always had, to keep the Commandments perfectly on your behalf. This baptized Redeemer would go to the Cross to pay for your daily sins of omission and commission. This Jesus would suffer and die without water, in the heat of your sins and rightful damnation.  This Jesus would bleed Blood to cleanse you.  This Jesus as He hanged dead on the tree would have God’s own heart gush out Water and Blood which would fill the very + font at which you were buried and resurrected. The Father’s words are spoken directly into your ears because Jesus is in your ears and you are in Jesus.

   You are no longer babies to be bathed, clothed, fed, and then “put down” for the night.  You are royal priests washed in the Blood of Lamb, clothed in the skin of the Lamb, and now “lifted up” and carried by the dove-like Holy Helper to the Table of the Lamb to eat and drink in paradise.

    The Lord is so pleased with you…He forgives you and loves you.


In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost


  1. A rich homily that soars to the heavens which open when Christ was baptized, and thanks be to God when each soul is brought to the "tomb and womb" of the +font. This stuff redeems the Internet, the Facebooks, the Twitters and what have you. I am sure Maxwell's electro-magnetic waves groan a little less now; surely, they "think" that their final Redemption draweth near.

    The thought occurred to me, as I read Fr. Watson's post about the Water of Life, as to how frustrating the existence of the Devil must be. True, the Clown of Corruption thinks he's doing something clever by imitating the Lion of Judah, stalking about and causing noise for a time; but really, he's been effectively detoothed by the Child in the manger. Certainly, the bunbling accuser (pride-filled, but not omnicient by any means ... it's well to remember) must have thought that the Child was done away with, once and for all, by servant Herod's goons; but there He is, boldly popping up like a surfacing fish, smack dab in metro-Jerusalem no less, stumping the other "wisemen," the scribes and the doctors ... the ones who apparently chose to go AWOL, while the real wisemen (from the east) followed a star (and the clarifications God's Word) to find the Child in our Lady's arms. Frustrating, baby!

    And Christ is always mocking Satan, repeatedly, tweaking his nose. Satan is symbolized by old Leviathan; portrayed to Job as such, by God, as a creature of the sea ... reptilian as to character, but given to water no less than the cavorting mammal Moby Dick. So Christ in the Old Testament mocks Satan by being the "impoled" brazen Reptile, who saves His people from the bites of dust-eating side-winders. So Christ in the New Testament has the prince of the apostles hook a sea creature, its purpose to compliantly cough up the goods and assuage the demands of the law (i.e., the temple tax). The Lord could of chosen a sparrow, to produce the bullion; or a lily. But no; a creature of the sea will do nicely. It's a sea-creature's jaw that's being pulled apart, treasure being extracted by such means like precious Father Abraham and leprous Lazarus being pulled from Hades' clenched grasp, by a cross.

    Satan must have shuddered a bit at the scene; at that fish jaw being manipulated and twisted, by the rough hands of Peter. Like I remember from anatomy class, years ago: the jaw bone's connected to the head bone. Oh, on. What was said to the fallen Eve, years ago, about what her Seed would do to a certain thing connected to the deceiver's jaw bone?

    A (superficially) grimmer scene, though, on a certain Friday: Christ the First-Fruits hangs on a tree, but as a "worm and no man," an altoether miserable thing; something beaten to a pulp ... a worm, the mere shadow of a serpent! He dies. His devastated followers weep or hide, in fear.

    Satan must have exulted ... exulted a lot. You party in the dark, and the earth's sun had actually been extinguished. Surely God's Son was no different.

    Of course, in "a little while" Christ fulfills His prophesy ("Gentlemen, I'm going to raise/elevate(!) this Temple ... My Body ... in three days") and His under-shepherds are stunned as He eats, not fowl, but a creature of the sea as proof-positive of a Promise kept. The Leviathan's become a breakfast toast! The Clown of Corruption must have completley curdled at the ... well, at the well placed barb, in this act performed in a not-so-locked room.

    Or you might prefer to say that the Contempible Vaudevillian of Abbadon was given a most heavenly hook. He's no longer center-stage to mock us, to disparage us, to hold us prisoners to reptiles. See, when it comes to deflating the rascally Satan with the "come-backs," our Lord is the Divine Don Rickels!

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor SSP

  2. I truly feel blessed to have your sage and Evangel-dripping comment my good Herr Doktor! I wish now that I had simply preached your comment rather than my homily (could you get them to me by Saturday night, if I get the sermon to you by Friday :) ).
    Indeed, Satan is more of a Bert Lahr cowardly lion (sans the inner nobility) than Disney's Lion-King antagonist Skar. Satan also reminds me of a wack-a-mole always popping up only to be pounded back into his hole with our (the Lord's) Baptisms. In fact, Satan is also like athlete's foot ...or maybe jock-itch...I'd better stop now.
    Please come back Dr. A