Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 12th January: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (a)
Today, the Christmas season ends as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. In a way, we continue the theme of last Sunday’s feast of the Epiphany by continuing to focus on Jesus making himself known to all peoples. Today we hear God’s words over the waters of the Jordan: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.’ As Christians, we believe that God’s words are meant for all who have been baptized. We are God’s children, children in whom he should be well pleased. It is fitting us to reflect on our own Baptism – the beginning of our Christian journey.
The Prophet Isaiah, in the first reading, announces that God’s Spirit will guide his faithful servant to bring justice and compassionate, respectful love to the world. This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus.
The second reading from the Acts of the Apostles has Peter reminding us that the Spirit of God rested on Jesus and that his is the Good News destined for all.
Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, as it is given in St. Matthew’s Gospel, is the occasion to make him known as the promised saviour. The Father calls him his beloved Son; the Holy Spirit will guide him.
Beginning of the Ordinary Season of the Year (2)
Monday 13th January: Monday of Week 1 of the Year.
In the ordinary cycle last year, we learned of the history of the people of Israel until shortly after they arrived in the Promised Land. Now we move in to the first Book of Samuel which is telling the history of the setting up of a monarchy in Israel. It tells us more about God’s dealings with the Chosen People and highlights the message to them that, if they are faithful to the laws given to Moses, faithful to the Covenant they would experience peace and prosperity. On the other hand if they disobey they can expect punishment. T.
Today’s reading takes us to the background of the birth of Samuel, the first of the three main characters, the others being Saul and David.
In the Gospel, Jesus begins to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God among his people. He calls for penance and conversion and chooses his first disciples. His words are addressed to us today – Repent, be converted, be fishers of people for the Kingdom.
Tuesday 14th January: Tuesday of Week 1 of the Year.
Hannah is blessed and makes a vow that if she has a son he will be dedicated to God. Hannah goes home happy and eventually gives birth to Samuel.
Mark shows the power of God at work in Jesus, the Messiah. It is a power that is contested by the powers of evil. Such also is the power of God today in the world.
Wednesday 15th January: Wednesday of Week 1 of the Year.
Today we hear the account of Samuel’s calling to be a Prophet of the Lord, a call to which he was open with Eli’s help. Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law ad then went on to cure many others who were ill. Afterwards he went off to a quiet place to pray. Do we follow this example?
Thursday 16th January: Thursday of Week 1 of the Year.
The Ark of the Covenant loom large in this reading. It accompanied the Israelites throughout their journeys. It is lost in a battle against the Philistines, and as aresult there is a loss of morale.
In the Gospel, Jesus heals the leper, an event which unheard of at that time. His wathcers would not keep things quiet as Jesus wished.
Friday 17th January: Memorial of St. Anthony.
St. Anthony was born in Egypt about 251 and died in 356. He is regarded by many as the originator of the monastic way of life. He gave up all his possessions and went to live in the desert as a hermit in various parts of Egypt but disciples gathered around him and he founded a number of monasteries, gatherings of scattered cells.
Saturday 18th January: Saturday of Week 1 of the Year.
In the first reading, we hear of Saul’s anointing as the first King of Israel. He was to save the people from their enemies. It was Samuel who anointed him.
The gospel passage is a consoling one. Jesus did not come to help those who believed they were spiritually healthy. He came to help those struggling to overcome sin their lives.