This Saturday, January 26th, we welcome Isaiah Allen Peek, son of Travis and Christine Peek, into the Family of God through Baptism. Then next Saturday, February 2nd, we welcome Hayden Solomon Quast, son of Tim and Lindsey, who will be baptized at the 5 PM Mass at St. Joseph’s. What an occasion for great joy for St. Joseph and the Tri-Parish! Children are a gift from God. In the Bible, children are always seen as a gift; never as a burden. Please congratulate Tim and Lindsey.
In today’s Gospel we hear from the very beginning of the Gospel according to St. Luke. Why did St. Luke write? Because he wanted some guy named Theophilus to “realize the certainty of the teachings” he had received. If you read the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, you realize that St. Luke wrote both of them. The Gospel is kind of like volume one and The Acts of the Apostles is volume two.
After hearing the introduction, we jump to chapter 4. Jesus returns to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” after being Baptized by John the Baptist. In Nazareth, Jesus announces that He is the Messiah. Jesus reads from a passage from Isaiah, a prophesy about the Messiah. After rolling the scroll back up, Jesus says something amazing. He says, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Imagine if someone from your high school announced that the one person Americans had been waiting for for hundreds of years. You would think they were either joking or they had gone insane.
Please pray for me as I try to serve you, God’s people, as a fallen human being.
Thanks and God bless,
Welcome to Ordinary Time. Last Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, the end of the Christmas season. This past week was the first week of Ordinary Time. So today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. The first part of Ordinary time will last until Ash Wednesday (March 6, 2019). The second part of Ordinary Time will begin the Monday after Pentecost and run until Advent. During Ordinary Time, the emphasis in the Mass and the Church’s daily prayer is on Christ’s teaching and His life among His disciples.
This week we have the wedding at Cana. Here Jesus performs His first miracle. Jesus has been Baptized and now His public ministry is about to begin. He knows that once He does His first miracle there is no turning back. He has lived in the silence of Nazareth for thirty years. With the miracle at the the wedding at Cana, that comes to an end. He knows that all of His public ministry will lead to the Cross, but also to the Resurrection.
This coming week I will be gone in Arizona to visit some friends from my Rochester days. I will be back to say Saturday morning Mass at St. Teresa’s. So (obviously) I’ll be back for the Masses next weekend. For most of you, you’ll never know I was gone.
May God bless and keep you,
I was walking around the faith formation classes. One of the students said they actually missed me last weekend. I did miss being with you all, but it was so amazing to be with over 17,000 college students who were on fire for Jesus and the Catholic Church. The SEEK conference in Indianapolis was amazing. Again, I don’t know what the future of our individual communities are, but I know the future of the Catholic Church is in great hands. The young people just want the truth. They don’t want things watered down. They love reverence. They love the Eucharist, Mass, Adoration. They want to be challenged to live a life of holiness; not just told they are okay doing the things they are doing. Again, they did two years ago in Austin, TX, the students broke the fire code for the building. There were so many students in line for Confession, they had to ask some of them to sit down because of the fire code. Statistically we are losing the young people. Less and less of them are coming to Mass and being active in a parish. But let me tell you. The ones who are involved, the ones who get it, are going to set the world on fire for Christ and the Catholic Church. It is our job as catechists, as priests, but especially as parents, to raise up the children in our care to be part of the remnant that sets the world on fire for Christ, to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to be a disciple, and to disciple others into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ. It is the last day of the Christmas season. Monday starts the beginning of Ordinary Time in the Catholic Church calendar. Today we hear Luke’s account of the Baptism of Jesus. There are not a whole lot of details. John the Baptist tells the people that he is baptizing with water, but that Jesus will come to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Also, in John 3:5, Jesus answers Nicodemus, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” This is why we don’t just do “spiritual baptisms,” but we use physical water when we baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” just as Jesus told the Apostles to do so in Mathew 28:19.
In Jesus baptism, the water doesn’t wash away His sins (because He has none). Instead of the water blessing Him, He blesses water so that it can be used in our Baptism. In His Baptism, Jesus makes water a blessing to us. Jesus’ Baptism makes our Sacramental Baptism possible. When Jesus comes out of the water, the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” God the Father says this to all of us because of our baptism. As the parable of the Prodigal Son proves to us, no matter what we have done, we still the son or daughter of God the Father.
May God continue to bless and keep you,
Don’t take that Christmas tree down quite yet. It is still the Christmas season. Today we celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany means an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. The Three Wise Men travelled a long ways to discover the Christ Child, the Savior of the World. The Three Wise Men were the first non-Jews to visit Jesus. Jesus came for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles, everyone else. In some ways, it is the Three Wise Men that reveal Jesus to the rest of the world.
The Church of the Nativity in the Holy Land is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity and the basilica is the oldest major church in the Holy Land. It was originally completed sometime between year 333-339. When the Persians invaded Palestine and Jerusalem in 614, they destroyed many of the Christian churches in the area, but they left the Church of the Nativity alone because the painting of the Three Wise Men visiting the Christ Child in the Church reminded the Persians of themselves.
Growing up, we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Kansas City. When we got back, we would buy a gift or two to exchange with our family. We would exchange these gifts at Epiphany, the time when the Three Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What can we give God who has everything, who made everything? Ourselves. Our lives. Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God. He has given us everything. Our very existence, His love, His forgiveness, His salvation. He just wants us to respond to His love by loving Him back. The greatest gift we can give anyone, God and others, is our selves. As we celebrate Epiphany, give God your life. Don’t ask what do I want for my life. Ask God what He wants for your life. I promise following God’s plan for your life will bring you immense joy.
Peace of Christ,