Baptism of the Lord

01-12-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we finally bring the Christmas Season to a close as we remember the Baptism of Jesus. While many of us remember when Epiphany marked the end of this season, the Church – since Vatican II – has extended her celebration of Christmas to today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Ending the Christmas Season with this celebration reminds us that the same Jesus, who was born as a Child in the manger, chose to be baptized and to make baptism one of His holy sacraments.

Last Saturday evening, many members of my family came to the 4:30 Mass at our Church. Afterward, they visited with me in the rectory. I’ve told you before that my family enjoys coming to Mass at our Church – and I thank each of you for making them feel welcome. Gathering with my family made me think of how, at our own Baptism, we became part of Christ’s family – the Church. This is yet another aspect of today’s Feast of the Baptism of our Lord.

Speaking of my family, I had told you some months ago that my mother was moving – and now she has. I saw her new home for the first time on my day off last week – and it’s very nice. While smaller than our old family home, it certainly has more than enough room. Moreover, it is all on one floor – and she is still in the same town and parish she where she is so comfortable. Thanks to all who have asked me how this was going, and who were kind enough to pray for my mom through her move! And thanks to St. Joseph, whose prayers were a big help to her and my family in this process.

With the Christmas season behind us our Church enters Ordinary Time. It is called this both because the Sundays of this Season are numbered in “order” – and to remind us that we are called to serve God by living our faith in all the events of ordinary life. Patience with those around us, kindness to those with whom we live and work, and honesty and purity in relationships are all ways we live our faith in our everyday life.

Pope Francis has decreed that the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time will henceforth be observed as a special Sunday of the Word of God. His hope is that this will remind us of the importance that God’s Word has in our lives. While we read and preach on God’s Word at every Holy Mass, Pope Francis has asked that a special emphasis – with appropriate solemnity – be placed on the Word of God at this special celebration, which will fall the weekend of January 25-26 this year. I’m looking forward to this special celebration.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and New Year’s as much as I did mine. Not only did I get to see and celebrate with so much of my family, I also enjoyed celebrating with so many of you at the various Masses for Christmas, New Year’s and the Epiphany! Your joyful presence at these Masses is a beautiful testimony to your faith!

As the New Year unfolds, let’s pray and do our best to be devoted followers of Him whose birth we have celebrated with such devotion and joy in this Christmas Season.

Have a great week!

Fr. John