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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Our Baptismal Mission The Baptism of the Lord 2022

                                                  Our Baptismal Mission

The Baptism of the Lord 2022

January 9, 2022

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Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Psalm 104; Titus 2: 11-14, 3:4-7; Luke 3:15-22


          We just heard the story of Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River, and God’s voice proclaims Jesus to be the Beloved Son of God with the Holy Spirit present to give witness. This is intended to be a public event to usher in the public ministry of Jesus, and it was meaningful that he went to John the Baptist, because he was the biggest name around, and he had a great following. The Gospel authors needed to show that Jesus was more powerful than John in word and deed. A main point of this passage is to show that the time has come to move outward, as Jesus did when his ministry was inaugurated.


            I have been reflecting upon how COVID has interrupted worship for many people for nearly two years and how we must see this as a time of opportunity to continue our outward mission. Some people remain faithful to the church by attending live-streamed events; others have kept up smaller communities of faith and have begun Scripture-study groups; still more try to call other parishioners regularly and to check in on their well-being. These are examples of baptismal missions in action.  At a time when it is not possible for everyone to receive the sacraments in person, the Spirit will send us forward to keep us unified and fed.


          The Church, by its nature, is on the move and is always adapting because the mission stays the same, but more people are waiting to hear the message – that God cares for them and offers them friendship and salvation. Some will lament that some people will not return to church when COVID is over, and some ask, “what is there for me?” Yet, the church is beginning a new process of dialogue and discovery, and the church is learning how to adapt by involving crucial people into the conversation. This is the language and a gift of the Second Vatican Council. The church is going to find a way to care for its own and the world beyond it. We don’t quite know what it will look like, and that is part of the beauty in the mission.


          During Vatican II the church began to look at the world to see the pains and sorrows, grief and despair and it knew it had to alter its practices to tend towards a hurting world. The church is doing the same today. It is asking the People of God and all people of Goodwill how it can help, and the church knows that it is at its finest when it is concerned for the welfare of others. When this stoppage is over and we emerge from the pandemic, we have exciting opportunities for redefining the church as we stay faithful to the mission. This is a nuance of our baptismal call. This is the age that is about to be ushered in. The Spirit of Christ will stay present to guide us. Are you willing to come along?



Scripture for Daily Mass


Monday: (1 Samuel 1) There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name. He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.


Tuesday: (1 Samuel 1) Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh, and presented herself before the LORD; at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.


Wednesday: (1 Samuel 3) One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was. The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”


Thursday: (1 Samuel 4) The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel. After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.


Friday (1 Samuel 8) All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.” 


Saturday (1 Samuel 9) He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people.



Monday: (Mark 1) After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”


Tuesday: (Mark 1) In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” 


Wednesday (Mark 1) Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.


Thursday (Mark 1) “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”


Friday (Mark 2) They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.


Saturday (Mark 2) As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus. 


Saints of the Week


January 9: The Baptism of the Lord is recounted in Mark’s Gospel where the baptism of water is to be replaced by a baptism of fire. God confirms the person of Jesus when he rises from the water and a dove alights on his head. God is well pleased.


January 14: Hilary, bishop and doctor (315-367), was born in Gaul and received the faith as an adult. He was made bishop of Poitiers and defended the church against the Arian heresy. He was exiled to the Eastern Church where his orthodox rigidity made him too much to handle so the emperor accepted him back. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • January 9, 1574: Fr. Jasper Haywood died at Naples. He was superior of the English mission. As a boy he was one of the pages of honor to the Princess Elizabeth. After a brilliant career at Oxford, he renounced his fellowship and entered the Society in Rome in 1570. An able Hebrew scholar and theologians, he was for two years professor in the Roman College. 
  • January 10, 1581: Queen Elizabeth signed the fifth Penal Statute in England inflicting heavy fines and imprisonment on all who harbored Jesuits and Seminary priests. 
  • January 10, 1567. Two Jesuits arrived in Havana, Cuba, as a base for evangelization. 
  • January 11, 1573. At Milan, St Charles Borromeo founded a college (the Brera) and placed it under the care of the Society. 
  • January 12, 1544. Xavier wrote a long letter on his apostolic labors, saying he wished to visit all the universities of Europe in search of laborers for our Lord's vineyard. The letter was widely circulated and very influential. 
  • January 13, 1547. At the Council of Trent, Fr. James Laynez, as a papal theologian, defended the Catholic doctrine on the sacraments in a learned three-hour discourse. 
  • January 14, 1989. The death of John Ford SJ, moral theologian and teacher at Weston College and Boston College. He served on the papal commission on birth control. 
  • January 15, 1955. The death of Daniel Lord SJ, popular writer, national director of the Sodality, founder of the Summer School of Catholic Action, and editor of The Queen's Work.

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