From Our Pastor: The Baptism of the Lord
Baptism is our entry into the life of Christ and the deep relationship He calls us into with Him. As we come to the official end of the Christmas season, we move from celebrating His birth to moving into His ministry.
The baptism of the Lord should do the same for us. You have been called to announce the birth of Christ to the world. We need His light in this time and day. He needs you to be His light in this world. That light dwelling in you comes from your baptism.
This feast day is integral to the life of a disciple. Baptism is the greatest gift we can give our children. It should be one of the first and best decisions we make for them. It is even more important than feeding them. You give them baptism because the soul is more important than the body. You give them food, and not just food but the best food you can because it’s the best you can give them. You give them a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the light of Christ in them, because the very best you can give them in this life is to also prepare them for the life to come. The Baptism of the Lord moves us from announcement of the birth of Christ to the ministry of Christ. Baptism in our own lives moves us from just announcement to actual ministry as a disciple.
You are called to ministry. Stop settling for anything less. Stop settling for the very least (example: “Well, I go to Mass,”) to allowing that action of going to Mass (yes, every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation always) to move you to action, to move you to ministry. Baptism conforms us to BE Jesus Christ. Baptism calls us to live as Christ. Christ IS and LIVES ministry. He calls you to relationship with Him and with each other. And not just those here, which yes you are called to serve, but to those you encounter in the world.
As the entrance of Christ into the waters of the Jordan, which re-create the world as the waters of the first creation brought about life, so too Christ’s baptismal waters re-create to bring about eternal life. May they not only wash you clean, but may they nourish and sustain you to life eternal. Take the next step in your relationship with Christ and live out YOUR ministry that Christ has set aside only for you to do. Stop settling for anything less than all that He has to offer and all that He has in store for you. Live your baptismal call to action. To serve. To love. To give of oneself.
Now, I say the official end of Christmas because I follow the old practice of the Christmas season ending with the presentation of the Lord on February 2. So, my lights and tree stay up until then. Just in case you get confused, the reason for this is these lights were left up during this darkest time of year, until the feast of the presentation when the Light of Christ is shone in the temple for the glory of God and for the whole world to be enlightened by His light. This feast of the presentation is when we light and carry and bless candles in commemoration of that light, which then in the natural world around us is when the light of Christ brings back the light in the length of sunlight in the days as they then continue to grow from Christmas until June. May Christ and His light increase and may we decrease, echoing those words of the baptizer himself, John the Baptist. Let us follow his example and live radically for Christ.
Thank you for your many prayers for my dad, Tom. He has had COVID for a week, and Sunday evening Dad wasn’t coherent. He spent a few days being treated with antibodies and being hospitalized. Both brought a turn around, but even his doctor made mention that it was even quicker than normal, which I attribute to the multitudes praying for Dad. He is now home and still recovering. By this weekend, he should be out of the woods. But as of writing this, he has quite a lot of recovery left. Even after he is out of the woods, those who have had COVID know its effects linger. So please continue to pray for him. Thank you.
Lastly, remember Fr. Rafal is gone, and this week I need to be in Houston for classes for the Master’s degree in Ecclesial Administration and Management that I am working on. Please know there will be no 5:30 p.m. Masses this week. The deacons will be doing communion services at 5:30 p.m., and Fr. David will be doing the other Masses. It is a good reminder that although we are blessed with priests, they are not in abundance. We need to be grateful for the blessing of three and not take it for granted, as well as pray for more vocations and support those in our own families and parish to consider the priesthood and be open to priesthood ourselves so that there are more workers in the vineyard of the Lord.
-Rev. Steven Arisman