Next weekend, January 12/13, we will celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast reminds us of how the Holy Spirit came down upon Jesus as he was baptized in the Jordan. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit Jesus began His ministry on earth, a ministry that would lead to the ultimate giving of His life on the cross for us. The mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection opened for us the greatest gift of God’s love, the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have received this gift of God’s love through the waters of our own baptism, a baptism that call us to be priests, prophets and kings for the Lord.
When I was a boy our family always left the Christmas tree up until Epiphany which was always celebrated on January 6th. The Feast was later moved to the second Sunday after Christmas. This year the second Sunday of Christmas falls on January 6th so it is both the old day of celebration and the new day on the liturgical calendar. We referred to Epiphany as “little Christmas.” Our family never exchanged gifts on “little Christmas” but that was the custom of some families I knew. Epiphany would also mark the end of the Christmas season for us. It was the day the Christmas decorations were taken down and put away until next year. I love Christmas decorations! So it is with more than a little sadness to see them stored away for another year. They are such beautiful reminders and visible signs to us of the birth of Jesus, our Savior, the Light of the World.
I must say I was very happy when the liturgical year was changed and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord also began to be celebrated on Sunday. It gave a new end to the Christmas season as it was seen as one of the three Epiphanies of the Lord that had been celebrated in the early church, the other two being the visit of the Magi and the wedding feast at Cana. Now I have a reason to leave my Christmas decorations up a little longer! They sure do help dispel the darkness of winter.
As we end the Christmas season next Sunday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and as we journey together through this New Year may we remember that to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. The manifestation of who Jesus was came through the visit of the Magi, Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan and His changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. May the manifestation of His love continue through us, His followers. May each of us answer God’s call to serve in His Name and empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit, may we be manifestations of Jesus‟ love and presence to all those we meet.
I would like to thank all of you for your support of the parish throughout the year both financially and through the gift of yourself in service. Your generosity allows us to continue to spread the Goods News of God’s saving love. We will be mailing out contribution statements by the end of the month to those who used church envelopes this past year
On the diocesan level we are in the midst of the annual appeal to support diocesan ministries. Each parishioner has been asked to support the diocesan ministries through the Catholic Ministry Appeal. On the weekend of January 19/20 we will have an in-pew solicitation for the Catholic Ministries Appeal in hopes of reaching our parish goal. Pledge cards will be available in the pews to allow you to make a pledge to the CMA. I extend a special thanks to all those who have given or made pledges to our annual appeal. Your gift helps make possible the many ministries of outreach and parish support that are funded by the CMA. If you have not made a pledge or gift yet to this year’s appeal I ask you to do so. To make it easier to give your support to the Catholic Ministries Appeal you can make your pledge today and give your gift in installment payments through the end of May, 2019. You can also give on-line, at www.dor.org.
God’s blessings and peace,