The Baptism of the Lord
Sunday, 11 January 2015
Vigil Mass, St. Macartan’s Cathedral 7.00pm
My dear friends,
A recently released film called “The Theory of Everything” tells the extraordinary story of the physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane Wilde. The two met as graduate students at Cambridge. They say opposites attract : Stephen was a fumbling, socially awkward cosmologist, who could grasp the complexities of the universe but was too shy to dance. Jane, on the other hand, was pretty and witty and her study of medieval Spanish poetry tended to hide a steely determination.
Despite their vastly different personalities, there was an instant connection between the two. They seemed to bring out the best in each other. She opened up the romantic and caring side to his personality (which surprised him), while he challenged and expanded her vision of the universe well beyond her conventional world. Stephen’s increasingly clumsy moments turned out to be signs of Motor Neuron disease. Given only two years to live, Stephen tried to push Jane away, but she would have none of it. She loved him and she was there for the long haul. They married and had three beautiful children.
As Stephen’s body weakens, his mind becomes sharper. As he moves from cane to crutches to wheelchair, and his voice becomes increasingly gnarled, his thoughts are more explosive than ever. He completes his ground-breaking work, and finishes his landmark book, “A Brief History of Time”. This massive achievement is due to Jane. She sees beyond the broken body that has imprisoned her loved one’s exceptional intellect, and possesses the generous love to release it. She enables her husband’s talent to flower, and she works tirelessly to give voice to his theories on the origins of the universe and the beginning of time.
In Baptism we are immersed in the Spirit of life and love which is God’s gift to us. We can learn to speak as God does, with compassion and peace in our hearts. We take on the challenge of living God’s love in our daily lives, and being his presence to others (as Jane was to Stephen). Today’s feast of the Baptism of Jesus is a reminder to us to recommit ourselves to our own Baptismal promises and responsibilities. If we accept God’s grace and help, He will empower us to unlock hope in imprisoned lives, to give voice to love that struggles to be heard, to mend broken hearts and spirits so that God can be heard within.
“Listen to me and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.”
“As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.”
+Liam S. MacDaid
11 January 2015