Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/10/2021

Dear friends of God,

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This is a bridge day in our Church year. It is both the end of the Christmas Season as well as the beginning of our Winter Ordinary Time which lasts until Ash Wednesday on February 17. We use the term Ordinary Time and that can be easily misunderstood. It is not that all of our life of faith is not extraordinary. We call these weeks “ordinary” because we count them. For example, this next week is the first week of Ordinary Time. Therefore, today’s feast is both the last day of Christmas and the beginning of the first week of Ordinary Time. Howard Thurman was the spiritual mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and many other leaders of the civil rights movement. He was a pastor and a deeply contemplative man who lived a life of nonviolence. He wrote this lovely poem that is perfect as we cross the bridge from Christmas to Ordinary Time.

 

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost,
to heal the broken, to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

 

What will we do with this time after Christmas? To repeat my question from last weekend’s Epiphany homily: “As people of faith: do we even recognize that God has broken into our world or is this just another day?” If we believe that the God of love is breaking into our world in the birth of his Son, then we are going to respond to both neighbor and enemy with compassion.

 

The stories of Jesus that would become the Gospels were in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and his first disciples. The closest language to Aramaic would be Chaldean which is the language spoken by Catholic Christians in Iraq. Mark’s Gospel was written in Rome for Gentile Christians. It was written from 60-70 AD: 30 years after the Lord died and rose. God speaks through these words written so long ago. God’s inspired Word continues to enliven us and challenge us to take up our cross and follow the Lord.

 

Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan was a pivotal moment in his life and in his understanding of his mission as the son of God. Benedictine Father Kilian McDonnell described Jesus’ Baptism by John as “…a bridge-burning event—the boundary cannot be re-crossed— representing a radically new orientation in the life of Jesus.” Jesus is our way. He has shown us the path of love that it is to be his disciple. It is a way of life where we learn to take our baptism seriously.       Baptism is meant to be what it was for Jesus: the beginning of a “radically new orientation” in our lives. Together let us make this our reality.

 

I want to say a word of thanks for all those who contributed to the beauty of our church and our Masses over the Christmas Season. The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of who we are as Catholic Christians. There is so much that goes into making the Mass so meaningful. It takes the care and attention of so many and the grace of God to be with us in prayer and thanksgiving. We are so fortunate to have a beautiful church where we worship together and to have music that inspires us to grow in faith.

Thanks again to all those who have made that our lived reality here at Holy Trinity.
 
Much love,
 
Father Kevin