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Back The Baptism of the Lord
Saturday, January 11, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron……
At the end of a marking period within schools, usually the quarter mark in the school schedule, parent teacher conferences are held. This gives an opportunity for the teacher and parent to discuss the child and his/her performance, within each class. Many parents and young ones alike appreciate when they receive complements about their child’s behavior and performance. It also though gives time to address struggles and difficulties that the instructor experiences and oftentimes offers possible solutions, to correct the difficulty.
In a similar manner, today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in the Gospel of Matthew gives similar testimony. Unique to the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptizer has conversation with Jesus admitting that it is He, Jesus who should be Baptizing him. This is a small text of testimony about the fact that John, even before the marvelous ministry that will come, recognizes the Messiah within Jesus. Jesus’ response is also very unique. “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15). “Righteousness” is often defined as “right relationship.” John’s baptism is a baptism of repentance from sin of which Jesus is exempted. But, the ritual is permitted so that Jesus can “fulfill” the scripture of the suffering servant. “Yet, it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, But, he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5). The “righteousness” that will be established, is not the right relationship between God and Jesus but between God and us through the future sacrificial death and resurrection.
At this, John submits to the request and after the water Baptism, the heavens open and a voice is heard fulfilling yet another scripture: “I will proclaim the decree of the LORD, he said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you.” (Psalm 2:7). “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased. Upon him I have put my spirit; He shall bring forth justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42).
On this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the scriptures give testimony, John the Baptizer gives testimony, and the voice from above as well. What testimony do you give about Jesus? Are you aware of the value of His relationship with you? Do you know Him in whom you have also been baptized? Are you afraid to speak about Him or share the miracles that He still does within your life? The Spirit that came upon Jesus is the same Spirit that comes upon us and anoints us to give testimony. Don’t be afraid to speak. Don’t be afraid to add your voice to the many who proclaim Jesus as Lord of our lives. Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, my friend who gives up His life for me. This is the profound testimony we are called to share. Let us recognize Jesus’ actions in our lives, speak of them, and give witness as well. Do not be afraid.
DID YOU RECEIVE OUR GIFT TO YOU AT CHRISTMAS? Through the generosity of a few parishioners, we were able to send our yearly Christmas Greeting letter along with the small yet powerful book by Bishop Robert Barron called: Letter to a Suffering Church. This is an easy to read publication that assists to situate and attempt to understand the impact of the abuse crisis on our Church in the USA. It is also a call not to abandon the faith or the church, but a call to join together to heal, strengthen and recommit ourselves to the great treasure that still remains in earthen vessels. We invite you to a follow up gathering of reflection on this most valued book which will be held on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00PM in our school’s cafeteria. Come and share your insights and together let us bring healing, strength and a sense of recommitment to our church.
NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY PARISH is part of the Northern Erie Vicariate that is composed of twenty two parish communities. All are welcome to join on Friday, January 24th from 7-8:30PM to pray for victims and all who are affected by the abuse crisis in the diocese of Buffalo. The evening will include adoration, music, communal prayer, and a presentation by Catholic Therapist Dan Lawson LMHC, as the community prays for strength and grace to journey through this challenging time in the Church. This evening of prayer will be hosted at St. Amelia Church, 2999 Eggert Rd, Tonawanda, NY. More information at: 716-836-0011.
A MAJOR CAPITAL EXPENSE occurred for us here at Nativity, just before Christmas week, when we had discovered a leak within the heating system of our Church. After the leak was detected and identified the solution required a few days in which a portion of our main isle needed to be broken into, a repair to the pipes laid beneath the floor, and then a resealing and re-carpeting of the site. Needless to say this could not occur during Christmas week. We experienced two blessings: warmer than normal temperatures for the end of December and beginning of January and the fact that our air conditioning system operates with heat pump capacity as well. These factors kept the internal temperatures acceptable until we could correct this difficulty. Thank you Lord.