Day 314: My Beloved Son
Luke 3:1-20 John the Baptist was the prophet “crying in the wilderness,” foretold in Isaiah, who urged the people to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Is 40:3-5). He called everyone to repentance before the imminent appearance of the Savior since rejection of sin is the indispensable condition to have a relationship with Christ. (CCC 535)
Ch 3:6 All flesh: Christ would bring redemption to all people, not just the people of Israel.
Ch 3:8 Bear fruits...children to Abraham: It is not enough simply to live and keep the law as a member of the Chosen People of Israel; one must undergo an interior conversion that bears the fruit of holiness in order to find salvation. Abraham’s true descendants are not those who share his bloodline but those who lead a life of faith as he did. An essential element of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is the act of penance, i.e., prayers, acts of charity, sacrifices, or offerings that in some way compensate for the offense. The penance serves to unite us more closely to the suffering of Christ, who redeemed us from our sins in his one Sacrifice on the Cross. (CCC 1460)
Ch 3:11 Almsgiving, whether of money, of necessary goods, or in the form of improving social conditions, is always an act of justice and a manifestation of fraternal charity that pleases God. (CCC 1942, 2447)
Ch 3:15-16 John clarified that he was not the Messiah, who would have the divine capacity to forgive sin. He also noted that his own baptism was symbolic and, therefore, prefigured the Baptism instituted by Christ, which would involve the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 696)
Ch 3:17 Winnowing fork: A farm instrument used to toss grain into the air, which allowed the wind to scatter the chaff, the inedible waste. The grain could then be swept up and gathered. The practice provides an image for how God will separate the faithful from the unrepentant at the end of the world. (CCC 681)
Ch 3:19 John’s criticism of Herod was that he committed adultery by marrying Herodias, who was the divorced wife of his brother Philip (cf. Mk 6:17-20). Adultery is a grave sin against the Sixth Commandment and an act of injustice against marriage and the partners involved. (CCC 2380-2381)
Ch 3:21-22 Christ’s baptism confirmed his divinity and explicitly revealed the three Persons of the Trinity for the first time. It also inaugurated the reconciliation of God with humanity since his baptism demonstrated that he identified himself with sinful humanity though he was sinless. Christ, though sinless, would take upon himself the sins of the world for our salvation. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ is significant because he is accompanied by the Spirit whenever the Father sends him; the mission of the Son and the Spirit are always conjoined. In this passage we see another detail that Luke often points out: Christ frequently prayed in preparation for the important decisions and events of his mission. (CCC 535-536, 608, 743, 2600)
Ch 3:23-38 Luke’s genealogy of Christ, like Matthew’s shows him to be descended from David and Abraham. However, unlike Matthew’s genealogy that begins with Abraham, Luke traces his lineage back to Adam and ultimately to God. Genealogies are a prominent feature in the Old Testament historical books, illustrating how God unfolds his plan over the course of many generations. (CCC 437)
Ch 3:23 Thirty years of age: For the Jews, thirty was considered the age of maturity, and one generally did not become a rabbi or teacher until having attained that age. Thirty was also the age at which David is said to have become king (cf. 2 Sm 5:4). (CCC 535)
Ch 3:38 Son of God: Luke, in calling Adam a “son of God,” was implying that Christ is the New Adam who reversed the fall and redeemed humanity from sin. (CCC 441, 454)
Ch 4:1-13 The forty days Christ spent in the wilderness enduring the temptation by Satan reminds us of the forty years that Moses and the Israelites wandered in the desert. In both instances, the number forty is symbolic of a period of preparation, with Israel preparing to enter the Promised Land and Christ preparing for his public ministry. The temptations of Christ also parallel the experience of the Israelites. Whereas Israel gave in to temptation in the desert, worshiping the golden calf, Christ devoted himself completely to the fulfillment of his Father’s will, expressed in prayer and fasting, and thereby overcame the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. (CCC 538-540)
Ch 4:5-6 Satan claimed “all the kingdoms of the world” and “all this authority and their glory” for himself, but Christ resisted Satan and would reclaim the world for his Father. In the liturgy, the doxology that follows the Lord’s Prayer recognizes this restoration: “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.” (CCC 2855)
Ch 4:8 As the First Commandment teaches, adoration, the first act of the virtue of religion, is to be given to God and God alone. (CCC 2084, 2096)
Ch 4:9 Throw yourself down from here: The temptation was to test God’s power and providence, i.e., asking God to prove his love and care by putting himself at risk. Rather than tempt God, the faithful should use all the means at their disposal to lead a moral life and to accomplish praiseworthy goals. (CCC 2119)
Ch 4:13 Until an opportune time: The Devil would find it in the Garden of Gethsemane, taking advantage of Christ’s natural fear of suffering to tempt him to avoid the divine plan to die on the Cross. (CCC 538)
Ch 4:16 Synagogue: A place of Jewish worship and religious instruction.
Ch 4:18-19 These words from Isaiah (cf. Is 61:1) were widely interpreted by first-century Jews to indicate that the Messiah would be a powerful leader who would liberate Israel from the Romans. Christ instead would offer his people liberation from sin and death. The words, “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom, and to the sorrowful of heart, joy,” are repeated in the Eucharistic Prayer IV at Mass.
He has anointed me: The word christ, like the Hebrew messiah, means “anointed one.”
Jesus is God’s anointed one in that his humanity received the full anointing of the Holy Spirit; he was the Christ from his very conception, i.e., by reason of the hypostatic union, he received the fullness of grace. (CCC 695, 714, 2443, 453)
Ch 4:24 No prophet is acceptable in his own country: Many of the Old Testament prophets were spurned and even persecuted by their own people. (CCC 558)
Ch 4:25-30 In the days of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, the Israelites were so unfaithful that God gave his blessing instead to the Gentile peoples: Elijah took care of a Gentile widow in Sidon (cf. 1 Kgs 17:9), and Elisha healed a leper from Syria (cf 2 Kgs 5:10-14). Christ’s references are a criticism of those who lack faith and arrogantly demand external signs. (CCC 548, 1151)
Ch 4:31-37 Christ preached with compelling authority, even over unclean spirits. (CCC 1441, 2034)
Ch 4:38-44 Christ continued his mission of preaching and healing.
They besought him for her: Others sought out Christ to request that he heal Simon’s mother-in-law, a detail that speaks of the value of intercessory prayer.
You are the Son of God: Even if many of the people were not yet convinced, the demons themselves recognized the divinity of Christ. (CCC 581)
Ch 4:43 Kingdom of God: It was Christ’s mission to establish the kingdom on earth. “The mystery of the holy Church is manifest in her very foundation. The Lord Jesus set it on its course by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, which, for centuries, had been promised in the Scriptures...The Miracles of Jesus also confirm that the kingdom has already arrived on earth. While she slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed kingdom and, with all her strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with her King” (LG 5). (CCC 2046)
Ch 5:1-11 They left everything and followed him: Christ’s call of his first disciples shows the essence of vocation. True discipleship involves a radical detachment from the things of this world in order to give our heart totally to Christ and his work of evangelization. Here the special relationship with Peter is evident, and it is these first three-Peter, James, and John-who will form a kind of inner circle among the Apostles. (CCC 208, 1533)
Ch 5:8 I am a sinful man: Aware of the holiness of Christ, Peter became even more aware of his own faults and failures and exclaimed a prayer of unworthiness likened to the words of Isaiah (cf. Is 6:5). It is this profound contrition and humility that is vital for effective discipleship. (CCC 208)
Ch 5:10 You will be catching men: When Christ eventually sent forth his disciples to preach the Gospel, they would be winning souls for Christ. (CCC 848)
Ch 5:12-26 Leprosy was an infectious skin disease that rendered its victims ritually impure and social outcasts. According to Jewish Law, no one could ever touch a leper. Therefore, Christ’s act of touching and healing the leper was something extraordinary. In curing the leper and the paralyzed man, Christ continued to show his healing power and drew great crowds desirous of healing and consolation. In the latter case, he demonstrated another divine power-that of forgiving sins. (CCC 1503)
Ch 5:16 He withdrew: Christ frequently withdrew from the crowds of periods of private prayer. His prayer serves as a perfect example for all Christians. (CCC 2602)
Ch 5:17 Pharisees: Members of a Jewish sect that called for a strict observance of the Law. Christ often criticized the Pharisees for neglecting the spirit and intent of the Law, which is love of God and neighbor.
Ch 5:24 Christ shows compassion for the suffering-a compassion that is continued today in the various works of mercy recommended by the Church and practiced by committed Christians. However, Christ’s concern was for the entire person, both body and soul, and, therefore, his healing was accompanied by the forgiveness of sins. (CCC 1503)
Ch 5:27-32 The call of Levi, who was considered a great sinner because he was a tax collector, emphasized that Christ came not only for the just but also for the sinners. Especially for the Pharisees, who shunned sinners, Christ’s concern for sinners caused great consternation. (CCC 588)
Ch 5:33-39 Christ was not criticizing the practice of fasting. In fact, he himself fasted (cf. Lk 4:2). Rather, he was pointing out that his presence was a cause for great joy and the time for fasting would come later, in his absence. Fasting is a means for growth in sanctity through a self-imposed participation in Christ’s Cross. (CCC 1430, 1438, 1969)
Ch 5:36-39 These analogies indicate that the New Covenant will replace the Old Covenant. (CCC 581, 592)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Act 2: Jesus’ Public Ministry
A New Wilderness
The accounts of Jesus’ public ministry begin with a voice in the wilderness.
John the Baptist’s preaching of repentance brings God’s people out into the desert, where John baptizes them in the waters of the Jordan.
The echoes of the Old Testament are unmistakable.
God brought his people out of slavery into the desert through the waters of the Red Sea, and into the Promised Land through the waters of the Jordan.
John’s words and actions recall the Exodus and stir the prophetic hopes of the coming messiah, for Luke says, “The people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ” (Lk 3:15).
Jesus, whose name recalls that of Joshua, is baptized by John, crossing the Jordan and entering the Promised Land like Joshua of old.
At his baptism, the Holy Spirit comes out of the heavens and descends upon Jesus in a bodily form like a dove, recalling Noah’s salvation through water and the dove’s return with a sign of the new creation after the flood.
Then a voice from heaven proclaims, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22).
Jesus was not baptized because he needed to repent of sin; rather, as St. Peter says, Jesus’ baptism was his anointing (Acts 4:27; “anointed one” is the English translation of the Hebrew, messiah, and the Greek, christos).
When David was anointed king, he was filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Sam 16:13).
The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus and the voice of God affirming that Jesus is his beloved Son recalls God’s words to David in 2 Samuel 7:14: “I will be his father, and he will be my son.”
Jesus’ baptism anoints him King over Israel; he is the new David who will reign forever.
After his baptism, Jesus sets off for a forty-day retreat in the Judean wilderness.
Led by the Spirit, Jesus fasts and prays, and at the end he is tested by the devil.
The number forty evokes Israel’s forty-year sojourn in the wilderness, where they also were led by the Spirit.
Jesus’ fasting is reminiscent of Moses’ forty-day fast on Mount Sinai.
But above all, the three tests Satan uses to tempt Jesus echo the testing of Israel in the wilderness.
In response to each of the devil’s temptations, the gospel of Matthew details Jesus quoting Deuteronomy, in which Moses recounts Israel’s failure in the wilderness and its spiritual lessons (Mt 4:4, 4:7, 4:10, and Dt 8:3, 6:16, and 6:13, respectively).
This points to the larger picture Matthew is painting: how Israel’s story and Jesus’ story share a profound parallel.
Matthew suggests that Jesus is not only a new Moses; he is the new Israel.
Precisely where God’s firstborn son Israel (Ex 4:22) stumbled in the wilderness, Jesus is faithful; the vocation and storyline of Israel finds its long-awaited fulfillment, in the person of Jesus, God’s faithful firstborn Son.
The prophet Isaiah foretold that when the good news of Israel’s restoration was announced, it would begin in the wilderness (Is 40:2-3).
The voice crying out in the wilderness is the herald of “good tidings” (in Greek, euangelion, which means “good news”; Is 40:9; 52:7).
What is the content of this “good news”?
Isaiah proclaims it is the return of the Lord God to Zion and his people (Is 52:7-8), which in turn means the restoration of God’s kingdom (Is 52:7) brought about by means of a new Exodus in which God delivers his people from bondage through the defeat of their enemies (Is 52:10-12).
The restoration announced with John the Baptist’s crying in the wilderness pushes forward with Jesus, the new Israel, proven faithful in the wilderness and now preaching the good news to God’s people.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
Key Event 56: Baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:21-22)
Jesus' appearance at the Jordan River recalls the completion of the Exodus, when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land (Josh 3). By accepting Baptism from John, Jesus unites himself with sinful Israel--and all humanity--so that he can lead the people of God through a new Exodus into a new Promised Land, his eternal kingdom. The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, anointing him for his messianic mission.
Ok so who here is a contrarian?
We’ll get back to the Gospel after these messages…
Occasionally there are these Proverbs that knock you on your tail!!
This is one of those
Proverbs 25:27, “It is not good to eat much honey, so be sparing of complimentary words.”
There’s something about that…
Do you know anyone who OVER-compliments?
When it comes to LOVE LANGUAGES
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Those are generally speaking the five love languages
Fr. Mike appreciates Words of Affirmation
He’s the kind of person who likes to give them as well
He knows there are times when it’s a little too much
Honey is good
Going on and on and on...like too much honey is not great
Have you ever had honey on peanut butter?
If you haven’t, you should because it will change your life
Not as much honey as peanut butter because THAT will also change your life
You will not like it anymore
A little bit is GREAT
Too much it becomes…
“Be sparing of complimentary words…”
The next proverb is a GIFT
Proverbs 25:28, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
ISN’T THIS COMPLETELY TRUE??
Years ago Fr. Mike was speaking with Anastasia
Such a unique name
At one point she asked her dad, “How do I choose a man to marry?”
We are unsure how old she was when she asked
But her father said this wise piece of advice, “Find a man who can fast.”
That was it
FIND A MAN WHO CAN FAST
Obviously, every single person that we know is BROKEN
Every single person we know is MADE GOOD
WE ARE FALLEN
And so we’re ALL going to struggle
No one is going to be perfect
Even someone who PRAYS REGULARLY
Even someone who TITHES WELL
Even someone who SHOWS UP AGAIN AND AGAIN
NONE OF THOSE THINGS are guarantees that a person is going to be VIRTUOUS
There is NOTHING
At any given moment, we can fall down flat on our face
EVEN IF we are pursuing the Lord with our WHOLE heart, mind, soul, and strength
There are certain MARKERS
One of those markers is the ABILITY TO SAY NO TO ONE SELF
THE ABILITY TO FAST
So her dad saying, “Find a man who can fast.”
Very similar to this Proverb, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
If I don’t have SELF CONTROL then I’m going to be defenseless against ANY ATTACK
Today you might find yourself in a place with no self control
Or maybe you’re in a place where you’re open to attack
Maybe it’s ALWAYS the same place
Actually, the reality is more likely where Satan has attacked you is going to be the SAME PLACE AGAIN AND AGAIN
Sometimes Fr. Mike has people tell him that they are frustrated for having to go to Confession for the same thing over and over again
Fr. Mike’s word of encouragement, “Take comfort in that. Take comfort in the fact that you have to bring back the same sins to the Lord for forgiveness every single time.”
Because it would be REALLY FRUSTRATING and INCREDIBLY DISCOURAGING if every single time there was a whole new set of sins
Think of a batter in baseball or softball…
Fr. Mike doesn’t know anything about this but…
Ok I always drop my elbow
Coach says, oh man you’re dropping your elbow again
That’s good because you can focus on keeping your elbow high or whatever you need to do
It would be HORRIBLE if one day it was you’re dropping your elbow
The next day you’re not leading with your hips
The next day is you’re not whatever the thing is
That would be frustrating because how in the world do you ever work on something like this?
When it is the same thing over and over again…
When it’s not...there are no walls…
When the enemy always attacks me in this one weak spot in the walls surrounding my heart
Then you can be PREPARED for the attack
That’s WISDOM right?
Seems to be WISDOM
And it’s really interesting because here is Jesus who also is attacked today
Now this is the FOURTH GOSPEL that we have gone through
So we have already seen the Temptation of Jesus
But let’s highlight a couple of things
The preaching of John the Baptist leading into the Baptism of Jesus
Not only is Luke situating the arrival of John the Baptist and the arrival of Jesus IN TIME
Luke 3:1, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea…”
Luke is telling us is that he is Greek and he wants us to know THIS IS WHEN IT HAPPENED
This wasn’t a LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY…(What color do you think Jesus’ lightsaber would be? I think it would be a color never even imagined before....but definitely not burnt siena 🤪)
This was not ONCE UPON A TIME…
This is in the FIFTEENTH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF TIBERIUS CAESAR
We can NAIL IT DOWN
This is the TIME
This is the PLACE
John the Baptist appeared in the region about the Jordan
Why would he go to the region about the Jordan for baptism?
We know that there were a number of different Jewish groups at the time of John and Jesus
There were the Sadducees who were the ones making up most of the Sanhedrin, the council of the Jews
There were the Pharisees and the Scribes
There were also the Essenes
So in the Dead Sea area, which is just south of where John was baptizing on the Jordan River
If you know anything about geography or have a map, look at the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake of Gennesaret in Luke’s Gospel
The Sea of Galilee then goes to the Jordan River flowing south as things do, often, not always, flowing south down to the Dead Sea
At the very top of the Dead Sea, that’s the spot roughly...just to the west of that is Jericho and to the right of that is the Plains of Moab
Right THERE on the top of the just north of the mouth into the Dead Sea was the spot where John would baptize
This is CRITICAL because this is ALSO the spot where Joshua let the people of Israel across the Jordan River, dryshod, going into the Promised Land
Remember they attacked Jericho first
So we know this is the location
We note a couple of things that are worth noting
This the LOWEST SPOT on the planet
No, really this is THE lowest spot on the planet
This is the place that Jesus CHOOSES to be baptized
He reveals to us HUMILITY
Secondly, he reveals to us THE EXODUS
Jesus is about to bring about a NEW EXODUS!!
A NEW RELEASE FROM CAPTIVITY!!
A NEW BRINGING INTO THE PROMISED LAND!!
A NEW CHAPTER!!
A NEW LIFE!!
This is going to be ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL
Tomorrow we are going to hear about the TRANSFIGURATION where Jesus is FULLY TRANSFIGURED and talking to Moses and Elijah
They are talking about his EXODUS that he is to accomplish in Jerusalem
JESUS IS THE NEW MOSES
JESUS IS THE NEW JOSHUA
JESHUA and JOSHUA...same name
We need to understand this REALLY REALLY CLEARLY
Jesus is about to reestablish not only the KINGDOM
Not only the NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT
He is about to bring about a NEW EXODUS among the people
WHICH IS JUST PHENOMENAL!!
We also noted this in the past and will note them again
What the Father says over Jesus
The Father speaks over His Son and says, “You are my beloved Son. With you I am well pleased.”
Those are words spoken over Jesus and they BELONG TO HIM
That’s what the Father said over Jesus, his Son
So we can’t take them away from Him
One of the realities is that when YOU are baptized, you are made into a SON OR A DAUGHTER of the Father AS WELL
There is something that the Father speaks over you…
Sometimes when Fr. Mike prays, he says “Dad” to the Father because Jesus taught us to call God our Dad
There are some who hear that and it jars them and it hurts them because they have wounds from their own dad
So Father is safer for them
And we understand that
Here is what is TRUE about YOU
When YOU were baptized, you were made into a daughter of OUR DAD IN HEAVEN
When YOU were baptized, you were made into a son of OUR DAD IN HEAVEN
So THIS is the DAD…
Maybe not your dad on earth
THIS IS THE DAD WHO SAYS, “YOU ARE MY BELOVED SON, WITH YOU I AM WELL PLEASED.”
THIS IS THE DAD WHO SAYS, “YOU ARE MY BELOVED DAUGHTER, WITH YOU I AM WELL PLEASED.”
Again, those words are for Jesus
BUT HE SHARES THEM WITH US BECAUSE HE SHARES HIS OWN DAD WITH US
Jesus lets us be ADOPTED alongside of him
What belongs to Jesus BY HIS NATURE is given to us BY ADOPTION, BY GRACE
So the FATHER
Hear these words and allow the image of our Father in Heaven to be transformed
Many of us have had great dads so this is an easy transition to make
Many of us have had dads who have wounded us
This is NOT an EASY transition to make
It is a NECESSARY transition to make
To be able to say, “God, you are my DAD. And when you see me you say, ‘You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter. With you I am well pleased.”
Then Jesus goes into the wilderness
Why does he do this?
BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT KINGS DO!!
Jesus is anointed as PRIEST PROPHET AND KING at his Baptism
He does exactly what kings are supposed to do
He immediately goes out into the wilderness and does battle with Satan
He does battle with the Evil One, the Enemy that tries to attack YOUR HEART and MY HEART
What Jesus shows us is that he recapitulates what happened to the people of Israel in their wilderness
They doubted the Lord
They complained against God
JESUS DOES THE OPPOSITE!!
JESUS TRUSTS IN THE LORD!!
JESUS LOVES AND OBEYS HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN!!
It is such an incredible thing to realize that not only does Jesus share his SONSHIP...he not only shares his FATHER with us
HE FIGHTS FOR US!!
TODAY JESUS FIGHTS FOR YOU!!
This is NOT a ONE TIME THING where he went into the wilderness for 40 days
HE CONTINUES TO FIGHT FOR YOU AND FOR ME!!
So today could be a tough day
Today most likely is a tough day
THE LORD FIGHTS FOR YOU!!
HE LOVES YOU!!
THE FATHER LOOKS UPON YOU AND SAYS, “YOU ARE MY BELOVED SON. WITH YOU I AM WELL PLEASED.”
THE FATHER LOOKS UPON YOU AND SAYS, “YOU ARE MY BELOVED DAUGHTER. WITH YOU I AM WELL PLEASED.”
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much. Thank you for this day. Thank you for this second day of the Gospel of Luke. Thank you for showing us your love manifest, your love Incarnate in Jesus Christ, our Lord who is the Second Person of the Trinity, who comes with power, who is anointed with the Holy Spirit in today’s Gospel. Who comes from you and is spoken over by you, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’ Lord God, help us. Help us to get near to your Son. Help us to get near to the one with whom you are well pleased. Help us to receive your Spirit as well, in an even more abundant way. Gosh, Lord God, please help us to love you and follow you, to say yes to you with everything we have and with the power that comes because of Jesus Christ and comes to us in the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”