From the Pastor's Desk
FEAST OF BAPTISM OF THE LORD
The Baptism of the Lord is the great event celebrated by the Eastern churches on the feast of Epiphany because it is the occasion of the first public revelation of all the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, and the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world by God the Father. Hence, it is described by all four Gospels. This baptism marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry.
The turning point: His baptism by John was an especially important event in the life of Jesus.
First, it was a moment of identification with us sinners. Sinless, Jesus received the baptism of repentance to identify himself with his people, who realized for the first time that they were sinners. (As given in the anecdotes below, St. Damien, Blessed Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Mandela identified with the people whom they served).
Second, it was a moment of conviction about his identity and mission: that He is the Son of God and His mission was to preach the Good News of God’s love and salvation and to atone for our sins by becoming the “suffering servant.” God the Father’s words, “This is My beloved Son," taken from Psalm 2:17, reveal Jesus’ identity as God’s Son, and the words "with whom I am well pleased,” from Isaiah 42:1 (referring to the "suffering servant"), pointed to Jesus' mission of atoning for the sins of the world by His suffering and death on the cross.
Third, it was a moment of equipment. The Holy Spirit equipped Jesus by descending on him in the form of dove, giving him the power of preaching and healing.
Fourth, it was a moment of decision for Jesus to begin public ministry at the most opportune time after receiving the approval of his Heavenly Father as His beloved Son.
(1) The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of who we are and Whose we are. By Baptism, we become sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of Heaven, and temples of the Holy Spirit.
(2) Jesus’ baptism reminds us also of our mission: a) to experience the presence of God within us, to acknowledge our own dignity as God’s children, and to appreciate the Divine Presence in others by honoring them, loving them and serving them in all humility; b) to live as the children of God in thought, word and action. c) to lead holy and transparent Christian lives and not to desecrate our bodies (the temples of the Holy Spirit and members of Jesus' Body), by impurity, injustice, intolerance, jealousy or hatred; d) to accept both the good and the bad experiences of life as the gifts of a loving Heavenly Father for our growth in holiness; e) to grow daily in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by meditative reading of the Word of God, by participating in the Holy Mass, and by frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
(3) It is a day to thank God for the graces we have received in Baptism, to renew our Baptismal promises and to preach Christ’s “Good News” by our transparent Christian lives of love, mercy, service and forgiveness.
JOKE OF THE WEEK: Baptism of a cat: Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed him "playing church" with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, "Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!" Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church."