- Something to Do For a Family at a Time of Loss (Helpful Hints for Life)
- Pope Francis' Vatican Webpage (Catholic Website of the Week)
- When You Think of MLK, Don't Forget the Faith That Inspired Him (Belleville News and BEYOND)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Baptism of the Lord
"Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him."
After the Epiphany, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. This festive day concludes the season of Christmas. The Church recalls this, our Lord's second manifestation or 'epiphany,' which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons and daughters of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.
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." -Matthew 3:16-17
Many of the incidents which accompanied Christ's baptism are symbolical of what happened at our Baptism. At Christ's baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism the Holy Trinity took its abode in our soul. At His baptism Christ was proclaimed the "Beloved Son" of the Father; at our Baptism we become the adopted sons and daughters of God. At Christ's baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. At His baptism Jesus prayed; after our Baptism we must pray to avoid actual sin.
Christ has sanctified the waters that set us free from sin and makes us children of the Father. He does this because He loves us. Will you and I now sanctify the world through our Mother, the Church, so that we will be the one family of humanity?
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This past Sunday was the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time . > > > Readings
Homilies from Feast of the Holy Family-Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, and Epiphany of the Lord respectively, click with your mouse pointer on the blue lines below (10, 4 and 12 minutes respectively):
Feast of the Holy Family
Solemnity of Mary, The Mother of God
Epiphany of the Lord
Baptism ( from Greek baptisma "a dipping")
- the Sacrament in which, by water and the word of God, a person is cleansed of all sin and reborn and sanctified in Christ to everlasting life as a son or daughter of the Father
[Christ was not sanctified by John's Baptism, but Jesus sanctified the waters of the river Jordan, since He was the source of sanctity.]
Feast (plural of festum " festival," from neuter of festus " solemn")
-days set apart by the Church for giving special honor to God, the Savior, angels, saints, and sacred mysteries and events.
[Some are fixed festivals, such as Christmas and the Immaculate Conception; others are movable, occurring earlier or later in different years. Festivals are now divided, since the Second Vatican Council, into solemnity (solemnitas), feast (festum), and memorial (memoria) in descending order of dignity. Memorials are further classified as prescribed or optional. Below these are ferial, or week, days with no special ritual rank. And in a class by themselves are the Sundays of the year, and the various liturgical seasons, such as Advent and Lent. All of these represent what is called "sacred times," whose religious purpose is to keep the faithful mindful throughout the year of the cardinal mysteries and persons of Christianity. ]
–prayer of Saint Augustine of Hippo
Blessed Are The Sorrowing, They Shall Be Consoled
It has long been the custom in many places that the neighbors and friends of a family that has lost a loved one would bring food over for the grieving family. In the shock of grief one does not feel like doing much of anything let alone cooking, yet food is needed for strength during such a trying time, so friends and neighbors do this charity for the sorrowing. Food, plastic utensils, paper plates, napkins, paper towels, bottled water, etc. are just a few of the things that one can bring to a family at time of loss to assist them as they will likely have family and friends who they would also like to see to the needs of. It is one more thing along with praying that you and I can do for those experiencing loss.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1223
Pope Francis' Vatican Webpage
Francis - Vatican
Franciscus Jorge Mario Bergoglio 13.III.2013. Election, 13 March 2013. Second anniversary of pontificate
The Vatican's website on Pope Francis includes pictures, upcoming events, and all his writings.
“Considering that so many 'church-going folks' were supporting segregation and Jim Crow laws during the civil rights movement, it is wonderful that King dedicated his life to employing Christ's teachings to resist and counter the very social sins of prejudice, racial discrimination and segregation,” Supreme Knight F. DeKarlos Blackmon told EWTN News.
He said Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Baptist minister, was “a man of faith and deep conviction” who studied Catholic theology and was “particularly impressed” with St. Augustine.
King’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” cited St. Augustine's saying “An unjust law is no law at all.”
From 2010-2016 Blackmon headed the Knights of Peter Claver, a New Orleans-based Catholic fraternal order present in about 39 states and in South America. It takes as its model the Spanish Jesuit priest St. Peter Claver, who ministered to slaves in Colombia in the 1600s. Its membership is significantly African-American but the order is open to all practicing Catholics without regard to race or ethnicity.
The organization was founded in Mobile, Ala. in 1909 by four priests of the Josephite Fathers and three Catholic laymen to serve African-Americans and other racial minorities. Its founders were concerned the Catholic Church would lose black individuals to fraternal and secular organizations, at a time when local racism kept many out of the Knights of Columbus.
The order has six divisions: the Ladies of Peter Claver, two separate junior divisions for young men and young women, the Fourth Degree Knights and the Fourth Degree Ladies of Grace.
The Knights of Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary opposed segregation and worked to transform how communities and cities thought about race, equality and justice, Blackmon said. They worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League.
The order's leadership and members were “intimately involved” in the civil rights movement. Civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud, a national secretary and national advocate of the order, worked with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to help overturn legal segregation.
The now demolished Claver Building in New Orleans, which was the Knights’ headquarters from 1951 to 1974, hosted early meetings “that ultimately launched the civil rights movement,” Blackmon added.
Today, members of the order organize Martin Luther King Day activities like Masses of Unity, prayer services, days of unity, and programs commemorating King's vision in addition to their other charitable works.
Blackmon said King challenged America “to live out its creed that all men are created equal.” He said the observance is an opportunity for American Catholics to remember King's life and work and to realize the challenge to work towards Jesus’ prayer that the Catholic Church “may all be as one.”
He said African-American Catholics should use the day to remember those who have accomplished “something for the larger community and the greater good.” He mentioned African-American Catholic bishops like the late New Orleans auxiliary Bishop Harold Perry and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, former president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.
Blackmon praised the rise of African-Americans in professions like law, medicine, higher education and politics.
“We have realized numerous African-American and Hispanic cabinet officials, legislators, and federal judges. We have realized a black president in the White House,” he said.
However, he added, “there is still yet more to be effected.”
“By the grace of almighty God, by the arduous work of our hands, by the standing up to be a witness to the saving power of God, we will overcome prejudice, racism, intolerance, bias, narrow-mindedness, and chauvinism,” he said.
He said Christians must be “ever mindful of our role in not only welcoming, but also embracing and helping ‘the stranger’ among us.”
The Knights of Peter Claver aim to serve God and the Catholic Church. They assist the needy, the sick, and disabled, while developing their members through fellowship, recreational activities, scholarships, and charitable work.
POPE FRANCIS HAILS MOTHERHOOD AS THE 'ANTIDOTE TO INVIDIVIDUALISM'
Vatican City, Jan 7, 2015 / 07:39 am (EWTN News/CNA) - During his general audience Pope Francis lamented how mothers are often under-appreciated in their family role, and said they are key players in fighting against an individualistic, self-centered society.
“To be a mother is a great treasure. Mothers, in their unconditional and sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies against war,” the pontiff told pilgrims during his Jan. 7 general audience address.
Mothers, he said, “are often exploited because of their availability. Not even the Christian community values them properly, despite the eminent example of the Mother of Jesus.”
The Roman Pontiff offered his words to those gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for his first general audience after the Christmas holiday vacation.
He continued his catechesis on the family, which he initiated in December, by turning his gaze to the image of the Mother of Jesus at Christmas, who presents her son to the world.
Mary’s example provides an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the role of all mothers in society and the Church, the Pope explained, noting how despite all of the “symbolic glorification” we give to motherhood, it is still under-valued.
“All of us give credit to our mothers for life and many other things, but not always are they listened to or helped in everyday life…Their important contribution to the life of society, their daily sacrifices and their aspirations are not always properly appreciated,” he observed.
To be a mother is a gift, the Pope said, and explained that through their sacrifices, mothers assist in helping society to overcome its self-centered tendencies, as well as its lack of openness, generosity and concern for others.
“In this sense motherhood is more than childbearing; it is a life choice entailing sacrifice, respect for life, and commitment to passing on those human and religious values which are essential for a healthy society,” he said.
Pope Francis then drew attention to the phrase “martyrdom of mothers” coined by Archbishop Oscar Romero, who served as the archbishop of El Salvador and was shot and killed while saying Mass in 1980 for speaking out against social injustices committed by the government.
This maternal martyrdom, the pontiff noted, consists of a mother’s ability to offer herself in silence, prayer and total surrender, “without any fanfare,” to her motherly duties.
A mother’s sensitivity “to all that threatens human life and welfare is a source of enrichment for society and the Church,” he said, observing how it is common in moments of difficulty to encounter the tenderness, dedication and moral strength of our mothers.
“It is they, mothers, who often give the first roots of the faith, the ones that permeate deepest; without them not only would the faithful be lost, but also a good part of the deepest fire of our faith,” he explained.
Pope Francis then greeted pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including Ireland, Finland, Indonesia, Australia, the United States, Spain, Mexico and Argentina.
He concluded by asking those present to join him in thanking all mothers “for what they are and for all that they give to the Church and to our world,” and gave his blessing.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1225
“Why doesn’t your mother like me?” a woman asks her boyfriend.
“Don’t take it personally,” he assures her. “She’s never liked anyone I’ve dated. I once dated someone exactly like her, and that didn’t work out at all.”
“My father couldn’t stand her.”
Mom's CallI was sound asleep when the telephone jarred me awake.
"Hi!" It was my peppy mother-in-law. She proceeded to rattle on about the busy day she had ahead and all the things that awaited her the rest of the week.
"Mom," I interrupted. "It’s five in the morning."
"Really? What are you doing up so early?"
63 and pregnant..................
A woman went to the emergency room, where she was seen by a young new doctor. After about 3 minutes in the examination room, the doctor told her she was pregnant.
She burst out of the room and ran down the corridor screaming. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was; after listening to her story, he calmed her down and sat her in another room.
Then the doctor marched down the hallway to the first doctor's room. 'What on earth is wrong with you?' he demanded. 'This woman is 63 years old, she has two grown children and several grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?!!
The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said:
'Does she still have the hiccups?'
FROM THE MOUTHS OF CHILDREN:
Ms. Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories.
She was puzzled by Kyle's picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent.
"The Flight to Egypt ," was his reply.
Pointing at each figure, Ms. Terri said,
"That must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. But who's the fourth person?"
"Oh, that's Pontius - the pilot!"
A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.
"How do you know what to say?" he asked.
"Why, God tells me."
"Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"
Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.