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Contents: Volume 2 - The Baptism of the Lord -A-
January 12 , 2020


 

  The

  Baptism

  of the

  the Lord

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Brian Gleeson CP

3. -- Deacon Russ O'Neill

4. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

 

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1.

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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2020

 

          Before Jesus began his earthly mission, he was anointed and

baptized by John.  He was sent by the Father, as His beloved, in

fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy:  to bring justice to the nations.

Jesus' task was to be accomplished by being "a light for the nations,

to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement,

and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness."

 

          We, too, as Christians, have been anointed, baptized, and sent

forth to do the same for we, too, are beloved of the Father.  Jesus did

not proclaim his own greatness to set out in boldness to do this, but

set an example for us in humility.  As followers of Jesus, then, we must

also approach our part in ministry with humility.

 

          Who is it in our midst who is blind and can not see the Truth? Who

is it that we know who seems confined by something in their lives?  Who

is it that seemingly lives in the dungeon of darkness and depression?

 

          It is that person to whom we have been sent, now, today!   We are

to be a gentle not blinding light to those we encounter.  We must not

shout or worsen the condition of anyone bruised or suffering, but follow

the example of Jesus' compassion and gentleness.

 

If ever our world needs compassion and gentleness, it is in 2020!

Sometimes we may feel like pounding the truth into those who refuse to

see what we think is the obvious road to right living, the compassionate

treatment of others, and, yes, peacefulness... but pounding it in was

not Jesus' way with others ... or with us!  He was often quite

straight-forward, but did everything from his heart of love, gently

leading others and us to Himself.

 

May we, in our ministry, whether it be in our homes, workplaces,

neighborhoods, or parishes seek to follow Jesus' ways, not our own

inclinations.  May we take the time to pray frequently and act

intentionally.  May we humbly remember that each person we encounter is

also beloved by the Father.

 

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

******************************************************

2.

******************************************************

JESUS’ BAPTISM AND OURS (A)

 

A few years ago news came from England that Prince Edward, the youngest

son of Queen Elizabeth, was leaving the Royal Marines. He took only four

months to discover that military service was not his thing.

 

At the time the news was received with shock and horror. 'It's bad

form,' some said, 'a lack of loyalty and a dereliction of duty’. There

was speculation that his mother was upset and that his father was furious.

 

This is actually a fairly common family situation. Parents have their

own ideas about a suitable career or occupation for their child. The

children have different ideas, or no ideas, about what they want to do

with their future. Or perhaps along the way they chop and change from

one thing to another, until at long last the day comes when they start

to settle down.

 

Jesus of Nazareth had lived with his mother Mary in the little town of

Nazareth for about 30 years. It seems that his foster-father Joseph had

died when Jesus was a teenager, and that the son took over the family

building business. No doubt this pleased his mother.

 

So we can only wonder what she was feeling that day he told her he was

leaving home, and leaving Nazareth, as well as the building trade they

had relied upon for years and years, and going off on his own somewhere

far away. Worse than that, that he was going to no new job, or at least

to nothing for which he had been trained. We may presume that this news

rocked Mary, left her feeling very sad and very worried.

 

But there was no holding him back. For he had a hunch that God had

something quite special for him to do. He didn't know exactly what it

was. But it would be something to do with that amazing fellow John, who

had been baptizing repentant sinners left, right, and centre, in the

River Jordan.

 

And so our gospel today tells us: 'Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan

to be baptized by John.' (He was baptized, not because he needed a

baptism of repentance himself but in order to identify with, and reach

out to those who did).

 

Then it happened. There and then, after he was baptized, the awareness

hit him like a bolt from the blue. He had always known and felt that he

was deeply loved by God. In his prayers, he had always called God both

'My Father' and 'Our Father'. But on this occasion God speaks to him so

loudly and so clearly that there can be no mistake about his identity

before God, and about what God expected of him: 'You are my beloved Son

and Servant', God assures him. In other words, there and then God is

asking him to be nothing less than the Messiah, the promised Saviour,

the one who would make God's kingdom, God’s rule and reign over

everything and everybody, begin to happen everywhere.

 

In effect, the message Jesus was hearing from God at his baptism was

this: 'Go to my people. Tell them that I love them. Show them that I

love them. Gather them together and bring them back to me.' There and

then Jesus understood the whole future direction of his life.

 

Now that he knew what was expected of him there would be no holding back

and no delay. As we hear in our Second Reading today, in that famous

verse from the Acts of the Apostles: '... because God was with him,

Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power

of the devil'.

 

We too, all of us, are dearly and deeply loved by God. He is our Father

too. We are His sons and daughters. We have been made so by our baptism.

We are also brothers and sisters of Jesus. By our baptism we have been

joined to his person, and share in his life and mission. So much so,

that each of us may be called ‘another Christ’.

 

As we celebrate his baptism and ours in this Eucharist, then, can we

re-open our hearts to his call? Can we hear him saying to us what he

said to Jesus: 'Go to my people. Tell them that I love them. Show them

that I love them. Gather them together and bring them back to me’?

 

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

******************************************************

3.

******************************************************

 

Three pastors got together for coffee one morning.  Much to

their surprise, they discovered that all three churches had problems

with bats infesting in the belfries.  The bats were making a terrible

mess.  “I got so mad,” said one pastor, “I took a shotgun and fired at

them.  It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats.”  “I

tried trapping them alive, said the second.  “Then I drove 50 miles

before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church.”  “I haven’t

had any more problems,” said the third pastor. “What did you do” asked

the others, amazed.  “I simply baptized and confirmed them,” he

replied.  “ I haven’t seen them since.”

 

(Ask someone) Do you remember when you were baptized?  You don’t? How

come?  Probably because you were just a baby.  (If parent there) Do you

remember when he was baptized?   Yes, your parents and godparents and

grandparents have memories and pictures to prove that it really

happened.  There was a party – which you probably slept through.  There

were cards and gifts and celebration.  Why?  Because they were

celebrating your new life – not only in the family -  but as a new

member of the Catholic Church.  You were brought to Baptism by your

parents (maybe right here) because you were a creation of love, because

you were a special child of God, and because your parents made up their

minds that they would do everything possible to raise you as a

Christian.  Your parents wanted for you what was and is important for

them – Christ is part of their lives and they wanted that for you as well.

 

Did you ever wonder why Jesus was baptized?  After all, he didn’t need

Baptism to take away sin.  Can’t you just picture Jesus coming up out of

the water, his body drenched, his beard dripping, his hair matted and

stringy. His garments covered with dirt?  As he comes to shore, he

couldn’t look less like the Son of God, the promised Redeemer.  So why

was he baptized?  Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan was, in a sense, the

inauguration of his mission.  It sent him off into his ministry of

preaching. Healing and forgiving.  Through his baptism, he came to the

fullest realization of who he was and what is life was all about.  It

was a public event that put him on the spot – that defined just who he

was.  Everything else Jesus did flowed from his baptism.

 

And then, did you hear the voice from heaven: “You are my

beloved son; with you I am well pleased!”  Jesus is loved and praised

before he even did anything – before the first miracle or any preaching

– he is praised simply for who he is.  And really, God said the same

thing to each of us at Baptism -  “You are my beloved son; you are my

beloved daughter.”   (Ask someone ) – have you ever thought of yourself

in that way?  That can be pretty powerful.  And being the specially

loved son or specially loved daughter of God doesn’t excuse us from the

hard work of doing good.  It requires us to do good.  In fact, just like

Jesus, God expects us to make a difference in the world.

 

Just as that baptism in the Jordan was THE defining moment of Jesus’

life, the moment from which everything he did flowed, so it should be

for our baptism and our life.  Our baptism (even if we don’t remember

it) should be THE defining moment of our life.  It should give

definition to every one of our days, to everything we say and do, to

every choice we make.   And like Jesus, we have a mission to make the

world holy by our lives.  That’s not always easy.  In fact, it’s often

pretty hard.  But what gives it all meaning is our baptism and those

words that God speaks to us: “You are my beloved daughter; you are my

beloved son.”

 

In a moment we will renew our Baptismal promises and be

sprinkled with the waters of new life.  This morning, we can each say

for ourselves what our parents said for us when we were baptized.  Let’s

be conscious of what we’re doing.  God has something to say, calling us

to look up, to listen and to follow. We have a chance to renew our

commitment of faith.  In our Baptism, as in the Baptism of Jesus, we

celebrate God’s welcoming love, a love that comes prior to anything we

may have done and prior to anything we may yet do.  And the wonder of it

all is that each day God renews his love for us and each day he speaks

to us tender words about who we are and what we have done and what we

can do.  Hear what he says to you.  Jesus says that you are loved in a

special way.  You are his beloved son; you are his beloved daughter.

Let that always show in how you live.

 

Deacon Russ O'Neill

Russ O'Neill <russon2330@sbcglobal.net>

 

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4.

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the

next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to

preacherexchange@att.net. Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name,

and Email Address.

 

-- Fr. John
 


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Volume II Archive

We keep up to six articles in this archive.  The latest is always listed first.

2nd SUNDAY Baptism of the Lord EPIPHANY Mary Mother of God Christmas/Holy Family ADVENT 4


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