Jan 8, 2018

The Baptism of the Lord

"You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased"

Mark 1: 7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: 
"One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. 
And a voice came from the heavens,
"You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." 

Our Feast today is the Baptism of the Lord. In this public moment Jesus is further revealed as the chosen one, the Son of the living God.  The Father's voice is heard: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."  He begins his public ministry at the waters of the Jordan and reminds us that we too must enter the baptismal waters to embrace the mission of Christ in our world today.  We too have a ministry, a vocation to fulfill as Christian/Catholic people. 

One exercise you may want to do today is research the date of your own baptism.  It is our second birthday in a real sense.  The day we were all born into Christ Jesus through the waters of baptism and received the Holy Spirit, made children of a loving God, and cleanse of the stain of that original sin.  When that day comes along, for me it was August 5th, you may want to quietly give thanks to God for calling you into his life.  How have you done since that baptismal day?  We all have a life story to share - what might be yours?  Does that original seed of faith still need to be nurtured more deeply, how strong has your faith grown since that day, and what more needs to be done for the daily ongoing conversion towards Christ and his Church?

So, we enter again in to ordinary time in our liturgical calendar. It won't go on for months as it does after the Easter season but about six weeks this year until we begin the penitential season of Lent, this year on February 14th, yes Valentines Day.  That day of traditional love basically has nothing to do with the liturgical calendar so Ash Wednesday just happens to fall on that day this year, which is determined by the date of Easter, this year on April 1st, yes April Fools Day.  That day also has nothing to do with our liturgical calendar but in popular culture, at least Valentines Day is marked. 

So, with Christmas just a few weeks ago falling on a Monday, it seems to be quite a liturgical year for us.  Couples who normally may go and have a nice dinner and sharing of flowers and candy on "Valentines Day" this year may find themselves particularly challenged by Ash Wednesday: Fasting and Abstinence from meat.  My recommendation, make it at kind of Mardi Gras/Valentines Day celebration.  Mark Valentines Day on February 13th this year and enter into the spirit of the Lenten Season the next day so as not to loose the the importance of that season of penance and conversion. 

So, happy Ordinary Time for the next six weeks.  We journey together . . .