- Something to Do For a Family at a Time of Loss (Helpful Hints for Life)
- Pope Francis' Vatican Webpage (Catholic Website of the Week)
- Sunday Mass Readings with Reflections for Self, Couples, and Families (At end of e-weekly)
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 Feast 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 in all time and places. 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 loved, 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 Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time . >> Readings
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
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.
Also, if they seem to have plenty of the above. A grieving basket might be in order. It can be filled with comforting and soothing things: a prayer book, a scented candle, homeopathic calming drops, a journal for memories of the loved one, lip balm, quality tissues, massage oil, herbal tea bags, a crystal 'hope' ornament, and a cuddly teddy bear, etc. You can invite them to keep it nearby and use it whenever they need it.
'All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by Saint John the Baptist in the Jordan. After His resurrection Christ gives this mission to His apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." '
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1223
Pope Francis' Vatican Webpage
Franciscus Jorge Mario Bergoglio 13.III.2013. Election, 13 March 2013. Francis
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1224
By Hannah Brockhaus
“Yes, when they go to catechism class, they will study the faith well, they will learn catechesis,” he said Jan. 13. “But before being studied, faith must be transmitted, and this is a job that is up to you.”
Preparing to baptize the 27 babies – 15 girls and 12 boys – Francis urged their parents “to transmit the faith by example, by words, by teaching [them] to make the sign of the Cross. This is important.”
“The important thing is to transmit the faith with your life of faith: that they see the love of the spouses, that they see the peace of the house, that they see that Jesus is there,” he said.
Francis gave the brief, impromptu homily during Mass for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when there is a tradition of baptizing a group of babies in the Sistine Chapel, a custom started by St. Pope John Paul II.
In his homily, he said that it is the parents’ task to pass the faith along to their children, beginning at home, “because faith must always be transmitted ‘in dialect:’ the dialect of the family, the dialect of the house, in the atmosphere of the home.”
Asking if he could give a little advice, he went on to urge the couples not to fight in front of their children. He noted that it is perfectly normal for a husband and wife to quarrel but recommended trying to keep arguments out of the view and hearing of their kids.
“This, I dare, is a piece of advice that will help you pass on the faith,” he said.
The pope also commented on the “chorus of tears,” that could be heard coming from the over two dozen babies in the chapel and said mothers should not be ashamed to breastfeed if their child is hungry.
“And so, we go forward in this ceremony, in peace, with the awareness that the transmission of the faith is your responsibility,” he said.
Following Mass, the pope reflected on the Baptism of Christ before leading the Angelus, noting that before Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river took place, he was “in the midst of the people.”
This element of the story “is not only a background of the scene, but is an essential component of the event,” he said. “Before plunging into the water, Jesus ‘plunges’ into the crowd, joins it and fully assumes the human condition, sharing everything except sin.”
“In his divine holiness, full of grace and mercy, the Son of God became flesh to take upon himself and take away the sin of the world,” he continued.
Explaining that Jesus’ baptism marks the start of his public life and mission, Francis noted that the mission of the Church and each person to be “faithful and fruitful,” calls for a “grafting” onto the mission of Jesus.
“It is a matter of continuously regenerating evangelization and apostolate in prayer, to make a clear Christian witness. Not according to human projects, but according to God’s plan and style,” he said.
“The feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a favorable opportunity to renew with gratitude and conviction the promises of our Baptism, committing ourselves to live daily in harmony with it.”
By Hannah Brockhaus
Vatican City, Jan 10 (EWTN News/CNA) -
“Silence is not reduced to the absence of words, but (is) the availability to listen to other voices: that of our heart and, above all, the voice of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said Jan. 10.
In silence, then, we discover “the importance of listening to our soul and then opening it to the Lord.”
Continuing his general audience catechesis on the topic of the Mass, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of the different moments of silence found within the celebration, especially in the recitation of the collect.
The collect, which is prayed after the Gloria, or if the Gloria is omitted, following the Penitential Act, is a short prayer which goes from praise to supplication, and is generally inspired from the day’s Scripture passages, the Pope said.
This prayer, which varies according to the day and time in which the Mass is being said, begins with the priest saying to the people, “Let us pray,” followed by a brief silence.
“I strongly recommend priests observe this moment of silence, which without wanting to, we risk neglecting,” Francis noted.
In this moment the congregation is exhorted to come together in silence, to become aware of the presence of God, and to bring out, “each one in his own heart, the personal intentions with which he participates in Mass.”
“Perhaps we come from days of toil, of joy, of sorrow, and we want to tell the Lord, to invoke his help, to ask that he be near us; we have family members and friends who are ill or who are going through difficult trials; we wish to entrust to God the fate of the Church and the world.”
“For this we need the brief silence beforehand, that the priest, gathering the intentions of each one, expresses in a loud voice to God, in the name of all, the common prayer that concludes the rites of introduction, making, indeed, a ‘collection’ of individual intentions.”
These silences are written right into the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Pope pointed out. There it says that in the Penitential Act and again after the invitation to pray, everyone is supposed to spend a moment in recollection.
And in the silences following a reading or the homily, everyone is called to meditate briefly on what they have heard. After Communion they should praise and pray to God in their hearts.
The Gloria, another kind of prayer, is either recited or sung before the collect on Sundays - except during Lent and Advent - and on feasts and solemnities.
Here, “the feelings of praise that run through the hymn are intertwined with the confident pleading of divine benevolence, to end with the Trinitarian doxology, which characterizes the whole liturgical celebration,” he said.
The recitation or singing of the Gloria, the Pope emphasized, “constitutes an opening of the earth to heaven.”
By meditating on the prayers of the Mass, the liturgy can become for us, the Pope concluded, a “true school of prayer.”
By Kevin Jones
“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.
“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.
- Failure is not falling down, it is not getting up again.
-Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed.
-I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
-The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire.
-You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
Family Matters“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.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord - January 13th, 2019
The First Reading- Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7
Thus says the LORD: 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.
Today is the celebration of the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord! The first reading echoes the words that the Father speaks when Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. This reading from Isaiah is a prophecy of Jesus.
Adults - Can you find examples in the Gospels of where Jesus fulfills each of these prophecies?
Teens -This reading is a prophecy of Jesus, but also is an example of how we are to live. Is there a behavior you need to change to help you live more like Jesus?
Kids - Jesus is prophesied here to be a gentle teacher and Savior. Are you gentle with others?
Responsorial- Psalm 29: 1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
R.The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, "Glory!"
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
-Reflect on your blessings and give thanks before going to sleep this week.
The Second Reading- Acts 10: 34-38
Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: "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."
The second reading is a speech from Peter as he is about to baptize the household of a pagan who received the Holy Spirit. This is a reminder to us that God’s grace is available to all.
Do you acknowledge God’s love for every person, even those that are hard to love?
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
The Gospel is Luke’s version of the Baptism, in which we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all present together at once—the Trinity revealed. It is the moment that a symbolic ritual became reality. It is the moment that God chooses to introduce himself to each of us personally—that we become adopted children of God and receive our vocation to be priest, prophet and king.
Adults - Consider the scene of the Trinity revealed in the Gospel. What stands out for you in that short reading? What connection does this scene have for you in your relationship with God?
Teens -What our baptism means for us develops and changes throughout our lives. As you get closer to young adulthood, your baptismal call—what God is calling you to become in your life—is probably beginning to grow more clear. Have you begun to discern your vocation? What are some emerging talents, interests, or leanings that you have developing in your heart? Ask God to guide you, ask others what they see in you, and keep noticing what you see emerging in yourself.
Kids - Your baptism day was a huge event for your family! Ask your parents to tell you the story of your baptism—who baptized you, who was there, who are your godparents and why your parents chose them, what baptizing you meant to them.