Thursday, January 7, 2010

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

The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (BaptismofLordC), January 10, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Why do Catholics baptize infants?
FEATURED BLOG: Polishing our halos and tuning our harps
PRIEST STORY: Thanks to our Ace - the Priests
PASTORAL HISPANA: Bautizados para que el Mundo sea Diferente

Dear Friends,

This Sunday marks the formal end of our Christmas season. Jesus' early life is now sufficiently celebrated. His public life comes next, and his baptism — today — begins it. Our Discussion Questions will guide you during your Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church group.

The Start of His Ministry

This Sunday’s celebration presents Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River. The celebration marks the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. It is the only Sunday of the year that belongs to two seasons. Why?

This feast belongs to two seasons because it is the beginning. Jesus accepts His ministry, His reason for being. This is the beginning of the teaching, preaching and healing that make up the public ministry of the Lord.

Baptism by the Holy Spirit

Fr. Alex McAllister notes how Luke separates the baptism of Jesus from that of the people — he was baptised after them. Theirs was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But Jesus has no sins to repent. Instead he took on the sins of all mankind and ultimately paid for them all thus making God’s forgiveness available.

Father Cusick explains further that our Lord's baptism, a sign only of his divinity, better enables us to understand our own reception of this great sacrament. Baptism is a grace which we accept and in which we grow through a life of perseverance in prayer and worship in body, mind and spirit. As St. Paul tells us today, God "saved us though the bath of rebirth." That "bath of rebirth," according to Fr. Phil Bloom, is the sacrament of Baptism.

Fr. Thomas Rosica says Faith is a public -- not private -- responsibility. He reminds us that our baptism is a public, prophetic and royal anointing. We receive the life of the Church and are called to sustain that faith life. These reflections, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, provide us insight into the sacraments of baptism and Confirmation and give us food for meditation as we say the first luminous mystery of the rosary.

“You are my Son, the Beloved"

With these divine words, says Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B., we are truly joined to the person and the mission of Jesus. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA tells us that is saying the same to each one of us. So no matter what we think of ourselves, our failings and our sins, God is speaking to assure us of his love and choice that we are his beloved children.

This Sunday, explains Fr. Joseph Pellegrino, leads us to consider God’s plan for our lives and how well we allow this to coalesce with our own plan for our lives. Fr. John Foley, S. J. adds that God is like a parent watching his teenager’s growing pains. Love does not mean God is taking charge and making everything alright. But rather it means him staying with the beloved, continuing to love and admire that special one, no matter what is grinding him down.

Finally, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, preaches that we cannot will ourselves into being good people. Grace, not will power, is what ultimately empowers us to live loving lives.

Why do Catholic parents baptize infants?

You most likely have been in conversations where there was a lively give and take between those who were opposed to infant baptism and those who were all in favor of it. It was even possible that those involved in the discussion were all Catholic!

Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington points out the simple historical fact that the Church has always baptised infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice.

Our Burning Question asks you to join the discussion: "Why do you believe Catholic parents are obligated to baptize their children as babies?"

Mass, Marriage, the Eucharist, & Heaven

Marriage and Manhood takes center stage in this great article by Msgr. Charles Pope. He points out that among the measures of mature manhood that God Himself sets forth is faithful, stable, committed marriage.

Webster Bull, of "Why I am Catholic" fame, writes that Jesus as a series of Gospel stories, a “discourse,” is not enough. Scripture, the Book, is not enough. The only thing that suffices is to experience Him as a real presence. Which we Catholics can do every day at Mass.

And in a separate dissertation, the good monsignor Pope explores the Mass in slow motion. The Preface Dialogue is the part of the Mass that happens just after the prayer over the gifts and the before the singing of the Sanctus. He explains how remarkable it is in its sweeping vision and heavenly call. But, often, we miss it’s heavenly significance because the translation of the Latin is difficult to accomplish in English.

And just what is heaven all about? Is it just a made-up human convention? So, What does the Catholic Church teach about Heaven? We have the answers.

Immigration Reform, Terrorism & a new Pew Study

The U.S. bishops announced this week that they are seeking legislation to reform immigration policy in 2010, saying migration should be a choice, not a necessity. And from the Vatican, Benedict XVI spokoe out and urged those involved in violence of any kind to stop and reflect and thus embark on a path of peace.

And just how religious is your state? The Pew Forum has came out with a new study showing the relative levels of religious activity based on four measurements: "the importance of religion in people's lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God." Find out how your state ranked.

Brit Hume to Tiger: Turn to Christianity

Here's another indication the winds of political correctness is shifting. In an episode of a Fox News cable show this week, guest commentator Brit Hume reflected on the Tiger Woods scandal and offered the Christian faith and its forgiving nature as a way for the golfer to put his life back together. And as expected, the left-wing jumped on Mr. Hume for speaking out about his faith on TV.Hav e you been noticing that more and more famous personalities are becoming less and less intimidated about proclaiming their Christian faith. Here's the video so you can watch it yourself.

100 Years Ago: The Amazing Technology of 1910

The dawn of 2010 promises more amazing developments in the world of technology. Already, tourists can visit space, for a price, nearly everything and everyone is going digital, and medical science continues to test the boundaries of what makes us truly human. But one full century ago, the new technologies that had people talking were considered just as groundbreaking. Electricity led the charge of developments that were changing the way people lived every day, with transportation and chemistry not far behind. Check it out.

Finally, like many others today, you may be doing your very best to make a smooth move from the relaxed holiday schedule you have enjoyed the past two weeks to one that brings all of us back to school, back to work, and back to painful reality. Ouch. Here are a few thoughts for others who might be struggling with the same kinds of transitions this week.

Another event-filled week in our Catholic world today. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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1 comment:

  1. Could you please explain, if Christ was God, was Christ speaking to Himself at his baptism,before Jesus got arrested, He was praying, was He praying to himself if He was God. Why did Jesus said "why you call me good " If He was God He was good because God is good. Would trinity been accepted if it was not for Nicean council ?