Monday, January 3, 2011

Announcements: Baptism of the Lord Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Mission Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Baptism: During Mass on Sunday two children will be baptized, Liam and Layla. What a perfect time for a baptism on the Sunday of the “Baptism of the Lord.”

Reception after Baptism: Please bring something to eat for the reception after the Baptism.

Around the Mission: It was a slow week for flying. I was able to check out the electrical system in the Cherokee Warrior II on December 28. I flew two and one-half hours to New Stuyahok, Levelock, Manokotak, and back to Dillingham. Ops check good. There was wind gusting to 40 miles per hour most of the week, dense fog and icing, and the Dillingham runway was actually closed all day on January 1, 2011 due to “Nil Breaking Action.” The ice was terrible.

Gospel: Why did Jesus have to be baptized? Please see the homily below.

Have a fantastic week and see you Sunday, Fr. Scott


Jan 11 Baptism of Lord DLG Baptize, Isaiah 42:1-4 & 6-7; Act 10: 34-38; Mat 3:13-17

When we baptize a new member into the community, we wash that person clean of original sin. All humans are born with original sin, except for Mary. We believe in infant baptism because we believe that it is the best option. The faster we can wash away the original sin, the better.

We also believe that Jesus is sinless. So why would John need to baptize him? Traditionally, there are two answers to this.

First, Jesus became a human (the incarnation). By letting John baptize him Jesus wanted to show that he was fully human and was united with us.

Second, by going down into the waters of the Jordan, he purifies, makes holy, or sanctifies the waters of the Jordan. He in fact sanctifies the waters of the whole world, to make them fitting for his own life-giving sacrament of baptism.

There is rich symbolism in our baptism. Through baptism, we share the faith of those ancient figures in the Old Testament. Picture Moses leading the tired, hot, and hungry Israelites across the desert for 40 years. They finally came to the Holy Land. The trouble was, they had to cross a river before they got there. Right! The Jordan River.

Those Israelites splashed threw that cold water to begin their new lives in the “Land of Milk and Honey.”

As our ancient ancestors did, we too have to cross the desert. Symbolically, this world we live in is like the desert. Our baptism is our first step to reaching the Promised Land. We come out of the desert with Christ to the Jordan River, the river of baptism. We immerse ourselves in the waters of baptism so one-day we will enter the promised land of Heaven.

If you noticed, John immersed Jesus fully in the waters of the Jordan. The word baptism is derived from the Greek word baptizo, “to wash” or “to immerse.” Although most of us are baptized with the sprinkling of water, our Catholic Church encourages full immersion baptism when possible.

The amount of water used at baptism does not make stronger or weaker the baptism. All it takes is blessed water. It does not matter how much.

What full immersion does is link the ritual of baptism more directly to the experience of Jesus. Full immersion means this symbolically: We do not have a detached God who only presides over us; We do not have a coaching God who sits on the sidelines barking orders at us on the field of life; We do not have a policemen God who wants to catch us breaking the rules.

We have a God who in Jesus the Lord immersed himself in our world, heart and mind, soul and divinity, boots and all.

Finally, Jesus spent three days in the tomb at his crucifixion. We plunge our children and adults into the watery tomb of the baptismal font three times. As we do this, we call on the trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to enable them to die to sin and rise to the freedom of Christ’s life.

In the baptism of Jesus, all the history of salvation is summed up and Jesus begins his mission of preaching the Kingdom. He passed that mission on to the apostles, the popes, and the whole church. We are, and will continue to, carry on that mission today 559 Words).

Isaiah 42:1-4 & 6-7
Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Act 10: 34-38
Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word (that) he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

Matthew 3:13-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?" Jesus said to him in reply, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

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