Sunday, January 10, 2021 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
This Sunday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas season within our liturgical year. The day after will be the first Monday of Ordinary Time. In the Gospel St. Mark describes for us Jesus’s arrival from the humble and unimportant village of Nazareth and choice to go down into the waters of the Jordan to be baptized by John.
“Baptism is an ancient practice with some roots in the Essene community and in the ministry of John. Many of those ancient Jewish people who felt a need to repent of sin and experience forgiveness were baptized by John in the Jordan. How strange then that Jesus, too, went to John to be baptized. This has been a theological quandary ever since. Each evangelist handles the matter in a slightly different way, with the Gospel of John skipping the baptism altogether, so that John simply testifies to Jesus as the Lamb of God!
Baptism will be the way new members, too, are grafted on to this people of God, in imitation of Jesus himself. At the conclusion of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus commands the Eleven to go to the nations (Gentiles) and make disciples by baptizing them.
We see baptism then as a dying to a former way of life and living now for God. Once baptized we are welcomed into the family of God, living a life in the spirit, the same spirit that animated the ministry of Jesus. On this feast of the baptism, let us recall the meaning of our own baptism and live lives worthy of that call.
This Sunday’s feast marks a transition in the life of Jesus from his quiet, family life in Nazareth to the active years of his public ministry. It is telling that in the life of Christ the vast majority of his years were occupied with the tasks of everyday living: working as a carpenter, eating meals with his family, praying in the synagogue, and making pilgrimages to worship in the temple in Jerusalem.
In the Christmas season, we might have also experienced a time of “being” instead of “doing.” With the chaos of Christmas preparation over, hopefully these last few weeks have been a time to spend with family (not so much with friends this year due to the pandemic) to live out the joy of the incarnation, to grow closer to Emmanuel, God with us.
Beginning Monday, as we enter Ordinary Time, we are invited to begin to integrate what we have experienced throughout this holy season. What have you encountered in the gospels of Christmas, the feast of the Holy Family, the solemnity of Mary, Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord that has touched your life in a new and different way? And as you continue your life in the world through work or school or community service and interaction, how can you bring what you have experienced with you? In the waters of our own baptism we were anointed priest, prophet, and king, and assured of our own “belovedness” as a daughter or son of the living God. How is God calling you to live out this belovedness in your own public ministry?” (Living Liturgy 2020)
As we conclude the time of the Christmas Season, I would like to thank Fr. Claude, Deacon John and Deacon Carmelo for assisting at the Christmas Masses and making themselves available to preach on selected dates. Thank you to our musicians for providing musical accompaniment at all of the Christmas Season Masses and beautifully singing the carols before them. Thank you to our custodian Marc for serving as a lector during this time. Also, many thanks to a number of parishioners who sent cards and wishes to our parish office staff and to Fr. Claude and I during this time of year. Thank you for your generosity to us that was expressed to us by a variety of gifts.
Just a reminder that the parish office remains closed until January 23rd due to the ongoing provincial lockdown or until further notice. We try to monitor incoming calls and emails with requests for donations envelopes and calendars for 2021 and Mass intentions, responding to them when it is possible.
Our three youth groups for students in Grades 3-12 resume this coming week over Zoom! It’s never too late to join, or for students to try out a meeting to see if they would like to join. Each meeting is an opportunity to spend time with the Lord, build community with one another, explore our faith, and have fun lots of fun! Meetings include screen games, videos, faith-based messages and conversations, and time for prayer. You can click here for more information, including schedules and registration forms, and stay tuned to the online bulletin this weekend for a special video about youth group prepared by some of this year’s leaders and participants!
Join us this Sunday for the celebration of the Mass at 10:00am on our YouTube channel, with the Rosary prayed at 9:30am. Please know that you can pray with us in the parish community daily by joining us for daily Masses, the Rosary and the Chaplet. The schedule for the entire week, including Mass intentions, is provided in our online bulletin. And finally, please invite your family and friends to subscribe to our YouTube channel… the more the merrier! Thanks.