HOPEFULLY YOUR CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR WAS BLESSED AND HEALTHY!
Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus’ baptism gives a new, fuller and divine meaning to our own baptism. This extraordinary event was also an epiphany, a manifestation or a revelation of who Jesus was – the Divine witness to Jesus standing as the Son of God.
You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.
In baptism, we too are named by God. All of us have different names, signifying our uniqueness before God. Yet in baptism, all of us are given the same name, ‘child of God,’ signifying our oneness with God and our unity with one another in God. God said to Jesus at his baptism,
You are my beloved Son.
God said the same to each one of us in our baptism,
And day by day, He repeats it.
You are my beloved daughter, my beloved son.
In baptism, we have been ‘tattooed,’ so to speak, branded or identified by God as belonging to a community of disciples. Jesus is our master. Baptism is not just a simple rite or milestone in one’s life: it is a transforming experience in which God lives in us and we live in God. That’s our identity, our unforgettable brand. We become empowered by God’s grace, God’s favor, to live as a disciple of Jesus.
With our baptism our new life of grace begins; it is a fresh start and also the gateway to the rest of our Christian life. We should be prepared for our journey of faith, much like Jesus’ journey which continues to unfold long after our baptism as we try to discern what our baptism means in our daily living.
Today, the Church invites all of us to renew our own baptismal promises, so that we can live ever more transparently as a disciples of Jesus, trying to do what is holy, right, good, and beautiful. By being baptized, even though he had no need to be cleansed from sin himself, Jesus takes our place. And we in turn, when we are baptized, are called to take Jesus’ place, to become ‘sons in the Son.’ Thus through baptism, we put on Christ; we are clothed with Christ; we become one with Christ.
Finally, it is very true that we receive baptism only once in our life-time, but it is never a one-time event. We must live and keep our baptismal promises throughout our lifetime. We have to conform to Christ more and more daily.
In other words, we who have received the grace of baptism must do everything to live up to our baptismal promises daily – and this is the Good News of today and also invitation for each and every one of us.
Am I thankful for my baptism? Am I thankful for the grace that I’m a child of God? Am I thankful and praying for those who brought me to faith? Do I give my best to live my baptismal promises daily? Do I live as Child of God!?
P.S. Monday after the Baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of the Ordinary Season in a liturgical calendar. We officially finish the Christmas Season and come back to the green color of the vestments. But, please do not think that our spiritual life is supposed to be ‘ordinary’, it’s supposed to be “extraordinary”. With God who loves us and is always with us and for us everything must be EXTRAORDINARY!!!
With God’s Grace we have celebrated a wonderful Christmas Season and we welcomed the New Year 2021. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, as a parish family we have been blessed with so many beautiful things. It was truly TEAM WORK. Thank you to all of you who came to church to pray with us or participated via livestream in our Christmas’ liturgies (with our new camera system). I think we all agree that the decorations in our church were beautiful (many people worked together giving their time, money, and support), the music was exceptionally uplifting (thank you Pat and your crew). Through the St. Vincent de Paul and our Giving Tree donors, we helped many families and individuals make their Christmas more loving and meaningful. Our parking lot was always ready to welcome those who were coming (thank you Dave and Ken). Thank you to those who worked in the sacristy or in the church sanitizing and cleaning. And of course, I cannot forget to thank all of you for your generous donations for our Parish during this time. We have been blessed with truly Christmas atmosphere and hopefully it helped us all come closer to Jesus. I, personally am blessed and proud to be a part of this wonderful community of faith. My friends, keep walking together, keep the faith, and make this ‘ordinary time’ with God’s Grace exceptionally EXTRAORDINARY! God bless all of you and your families.