Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 9-10
Jesus has freed us from sin and guilt
When Jesus was baptized by John, the waters did not purify Him, He purified the waters. Jesus allowed Himself to be immersed in the messiness of humanity to show us that He loves us unconditionally.
Pride is the cause of our messiness. Pride is the sin of the world. Therefore, when we say, “Lamb of God. you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.”—that’s the sin to which we are referring—the sin of pride. From pride come all the others. Every known sin fits under the umbrella of pride—all of the capital sins and the not so serious ones. Since our ancestors disobeyed God because they thought that they were in charge; original sin is the pre-existing condition into which we are all born—sort of like genetics—or pollution—or income tax. Babies are not to blame for anything, they are innocent. Sacramental Baptism restores them to original innocence—like what Adam and Eve experienced before they disobeyed. Our Baptism is like fresh air in a contaminated world. Every time we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation we are restored to the innocence of our Baptism. Same happens when we receive Holy Communion. In essence, all seven sacraments get us back to the Garden—to the moment of perfect communication with God. If we fail to listen, if we refuse to speak with God during the precious sacramental moments we are missing out—cheating ourselves. Some folks are so afraid of God that they dare not mention their problems, or petitions, or desires. God already knows them! He knows before we ask. God already knew that our first parents had sinned. But He wanted to hear it from them. “Where are you?” The man answered, “I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself”. Where can we hide from God? What can we keep from God that He does not already know? A common reaction is to hide when we’ve done something wrong. Perhaps that’s why more crimes happen at night. Regardless of where we try to hide, God looks for us. We do not have to be afraid. That’s why Jesus got into the water in the Jordan River—to free us from fear.
Naturally guilt brings us down. Notice that guilt is not from God. When Adam and Eve realized that they could not hide, God asked them a very important question—a question that we miss when reading Genesis, “Who told you that you were naked?” Obviously, the accusation came from the enemy who tricked them.
Interesting how God and the devil appear before and after we sin. Before we sin, God seems like the enemy because we hear our Guardian Angel saying, “Don’t do it. You are going to get hurt. Use a little discipline.” The devil acts like our friend. “Come on—"No one is watching. You only have one life—live a little. Everybody’s doing it, why should you miss out?” Then we realize that we are naked, and we want to hide. The roles reverse. The devil is the first to accuse us, “I knew that you would never amount to much—‘you good for nothing’—lower than dirt. Be sure that you are going to hell.” While God says, “I love you, I forgive you, forget the past.” When Jesus got into the River, He confirmed His Incarnation—the entire plan of being born of the Virgin Mary, having to go to the bathroom, getting tired. Jesus assumed our human nature in all things, except sin. That means He got angry, fell in love over and over, and He cried. Many tears were shed because people turned the other way from His love. Jesus wept for Lazarus, over Jerusalem, and probably at the funeral of St. Joseph. He cried for the priests who thought they had all the answers in the Law. No doubt He cried when He was whipped and nailed to the cross. The Jordan River represented all human existence from the beginning until the end—the good and the bad. Imagine the love needed to embrace a future full of pain. Jesus spoke often of His death and did nothing to prevent His crucifixion.
Little wonder that the voice was heard from heaven. “That’s my Boy, I’m so proud of Him.” “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” We are also pleased and eternally grateful to the One who came to show us how to love.