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Baptism of the Lord January 12, 2020

Today, on our church calendar, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  It is a “hinge” feast in that it pivots us away from the Christmas Season and propels us into Ordinary Time.  In a very real way, it is an opportunity for us to consider how we emerge from celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and whether our lives might be different in the year ahead as we look to grow in our discipleship of Jesus.  Two big feasts are sandwiched in the Christmas season, and both offer some insight as to how we might become better disciples of Jesus in “Ordinary Time.”

The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph invites us to consider how we can live into the dreams and hopes we have for ourselves and for our families.  Just as Joseph placed his personal hopes for his family within the context of God’s dreams for them, so we are invited to see our own dreams within a bigger context - the context of God’s own hopes and dreams for us - so that God might bless our hopes and by His grace, bring them to fulfillment. 

The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord commemorates the revelation of the Incarnation of God in Jesus.  That we celebrate this mystery in the telling of the story of the “Magi from the east,” is a reminder to us that the good news of God’s saving action in the world is both personal and universal.  God’s gift of self to us is intentionally inclusive, not only for the chosen people, but for the whole world.  As such, we are reminded of our responsibility to witness to God’s saving work in our lives for the good of God’s people everywhere, and not just for our own circles of friends. 

Both of these Feasts taken with today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, remind us that along with Jesus, we are called to place our lives and our being in the service of the Father.  To do so is to invite God’s grace and blessing into our lives.  Entrusting ourselves to this grace and blessing is to see our lives not only through the lens of our personal hopes and desires for life, but also against the backdrop of God’s hopes and dreams for us. 

When we intentionally focus on our discipleship of Jesus, and follow in his footsteps by placing ourselves ever more in the service of God’s will and hopes for us, we find ourselves stirred by the words of St. Peter in today’s second reading from Acts.  We read how Jesus placed himself before John in order to be baptized.  The baptism was the beginning of something wonderful in the public life of the Savior. Peter tells us that:

“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.”

In these words we are reminded of words prayed with us at the time of our own baptism.  The prayer of anointing which immediately follows the baptism of an infant reads in part “as Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.”  In these brief words we come to know that we are anointed for purpose by God, that we are chosen to be part of God’s holy people, and God’s hope for us is that we will grow into the fullness of life as Jesus showed us. 

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Announcement of Easter and Movable Feasts for the Year of Grace, 2020.

Know, dear brothers and sisters, that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God’s mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Savior. 

On the 26th day of February will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season. 

On the 12th day of April you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

On the 31st day of May, the feast of Pentecost

On the 14th day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

On the 29th day of November, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

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