Speak the Truth

Baptism of the Lord, Cycle A

Is 42:1-4, 6-7 – Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 - Acts 10:34-38 - Mt 3:13-17

Conscience allows us to speak the Truth and to recognize the Plan of God

John the Baptist is shocked today to discover that Jesus is the next one to receive the baptism of repentance. He speaks the truth to Jesus and he says “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”

John’s Conscience prompts him to speak the Truth

John’s conscience is prompting him to speak the Truth – because that is what a conscience does – it witnesses to us about the truth of God. At the same time, John’s conscience witnesses to his own sinfulness and shortcomings – his need for the Baptism of the Christ

Because of this John and Jesus have an argument, which ends with Jesus convincing John to go along with God’s plan and to baptize Jesus.

Conscience is not Opinion or Emotion

Each one of us has a conscience - but many of us are confused about what a conscience truly is - how it works and how we are to use it. Our culture confuses conscience with opinion mingled with emotion. If it feels right, then I must do it. This is not true.

  • The human conscience is grounded in Truth – It prompts us to do good and avoid evil.
  • it recognizes the difference between good and evil (especially in our own actions – it is by our conscience that we recognize when we have done good or evil).
  • and always bears witness to the Truth – Our conscience remembers what we have done in the light of the Truth of God.
Human Conscience is the truth of Gods Love etched on our hearts by God himself. The Catechism teaches that our conscience always calls us to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil. It is the most secret core of our being, and it is there that we are alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.

Like John, Christ invites us to participate in His mission – we start this with Baptism.

One of the ways we cooperate and participate in the plan of God is to be Baptized, we enter into the Body of Christ. Christ chose to be baptized so that we could be united to Him – we could become His brothers. Our Baptism is more than membership in the Church – it is our joining Christ in His mission to show the Father’s love to the world.

What is the mission of Christ? – The 5 ways of the Prophet Isaiah

Isaiah speaks of this in the first reading today – He prophesies that the Messiah will do 5 distinct things – Isaiah is prophesying our mission, defining for us the our Goals as the Church.

Baptism makes us the covenant people that Isaiah speaks of in his reading today – Baptism makes the Church.

Our Mission is to be a covenant for the People – This is the mission of the Church. As the People of God, our covenant is the Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus. In a similar way, we are the Body of Christ – We (the Church) are the way that God has chosen to show His love to the people!

How do I represent the Love of God to those whom I live with? Why or Why not?

A light for the nations - Forming your Conscience

In order to be a light to the nations we need a well-formed conscience. Conscience is like a plant – it needs the light of God’s word to grow properly. When someone justifies sin by saying that they are listening to their conscience then either they are lying, or they are negligent in the formation of their conscience. The Catechism says that the conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It judges according to reason and conforms itself to the will of God. Forming our conscience is needed because we are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin that makes it easy for us to rationalize our actions.

Our actions witness to our relationship with God

By the witness of our actions we shed the light of Christ into peoples lives. We do this by not joining in the sinfulness of the world, but by being like Christ - which is what it means to be a Christian. Christ lived with the sinners not as a sinner himself, but as the one who offers them healing and hope by the sharing of His relationship with God. Baptism strengthens us for this witness by washing away sin, and giving us a profound relationship with God – The Holy Trinity dwells in us, to illumine our conscience and lead us into the depths of His love. How do I share my relationship with God, the grace of my sacrament of Baptism with others through my actions?

Isaiah calls us To Open the eyes of the Blind

People are blind today as to what sin is – They do not seem to understand the difference between right and wrong. They use rationalization to justify their behavior. Be it pornography on the internet or your cell phone, or our addiction to violence in our entertainment, or our insensitivity to our neighbor.

Our conscience is formed by absorbing the word of God and putting it into practice.

To form our conscience we must absorb the Word of God in faith put into practice. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit who speaks through us and the advice of others guided by the teaching authority of the Church.

Where does the Light of Christ need to come into my life?

Again, we need to answer the question - What sin am I blind to that God’s love illuminates? What situation exists in my life that needs the light of God’s love? How is Christ calling me to reflect His love into that situation so that the blind can see? As a corollary to this, consider that the blind always came to Christ for healing – not the other way around.

To Bring Prisoners out of confinement

A well-formed conscience leads us to freedom. Because of this we need to have a life long habit of forming our conscience, through action and reflection. A Well formed conscience gives us confidence in the goodness of our action, and it leads us to live lives that are filled with Joy and Peace, frees us from the confinement. This is part of the brilliance of God’s plan, as we are freed from slavery to sin and death our lives become attractive to others – they inherently recognize the goodness that we live, and they are drawn to Christ like a magnet.

Thanksgiving helps us to give the reason for our joy!

When people ask us about the reason for our joy and happiness– we need to be ready and able to respond to them about the great things that God has done, or is doing for us.

If we are not there yet, then we are called to begin with thanksgiving – to make a daily habit of giving thanks to God for one thing each day, and then branch out – make a breakfast, lunch and dinner thanksgiving and so on. Thanksgiving opens us up to be aware and grateful for the gifts that God has given us, and so prepares us to be able to give the reason for the joy we experience.

To free those who live in darkness from their dungeons

The Church (means us – the Body of Christ) has a mission to free those trapped in darkness and dungeons. The world is enslaved to sin. It is our mission to the underground railroad – to free those trapped in slavery and help them to find the freedom of truth. To be shining witnesses to the world of God’s radical love.


Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord celebrates the end of Christmas and the beginning of Ordinary Time. In this feast today we celebrate the start of Christ’s Mission.
To be a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
and to bring out prisoners from confinement,
Because of our Baptism, we share in the Lord’s Baptism, which means that we share in his mission. It is time for us
To be a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
and to bring out prisoners from confinement,
Ordinary time begins tomorrow – and Christ has given us work to do this year!