January 11, 2015: The Baptism of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
In a world of social and economic strife, solidarity calls us to see others, locally and globally, as our brothers and sisters. People do not become someone to exploit and demean, but we affirm their life as part of the human family. Solidarity calls us to respect life by pursuing peace and justice to dispel the culture of violence in the world. From: https://cst74life.wordpress.com/
First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 or Isaiah 55:1-11
Psalm: 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 or Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-38 or 1st John 5:1-9
Gospel: Mark 1:7-11
Catechism of the Catholic Church
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Cycle B
Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. the Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and “walk in newness of life”:
Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.
Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God. (537)
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; cf. Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9), since all people have the same dignity as creatures made in his image and likeness. The Incarnation of the Son of God shows the equality of all people with regard to dignity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; cf. Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 12:13, Col 3:11).
Since something of the glory of God shines on the face of every person, the dignity of every person before God is the basis of the dignity of man before other men. Moreover, this is the ultimate foundation of the radical equality and brotherhood among all people, regardless of their race, nation, sex, origin, culture, or class. (144)
Working for peace can never be separated from announcing the Gospel, which is in fact the “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36; cf. Eph 6:15) addressed to all men and women. At the centre of “the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) remains the mystery of the cross, because peace is born of Christ’s sacrifice (cf. Is 53:5) — “Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we were healed”. The crucified Jesus has overcome divisions, re-establishing peace and reconciliation, precisely through the cross, “thereby bringing the hostility to an end” (Eph 2:16) and bringing the salvation of the Resurrection to mankind. (493)
1st John 1:8
The doctrine of original sin, which teaches the universality of sin, has an important foundation: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn1:8). This doctrine encourages men and women not to remain in guilt and not to take guilt lightly, continuously seeking scapegoats in other people and justification in the environment, in heredity, in institutions, in structures and in relationships. This is a teaching that unmasks such deceptions.
The doctrine of the universality of sin, however, must not be separated from the consciousness of the universality of salvation in Jesus Christ. If it is so separated it engenders a false anxiety of sin and a pessimistic view of the world and life, which leads to contempt of the cultural and civil accomplishments of mankind. (120)
Water has many properties. Frozen hard as ice. Vaporized as steam. A trickle from a faucet. The pounding force against the blades of a turbine. Water can be murky with algae or the freshness of a bubbling spring. Water has the force to smooth rocks, chart new courses in stream beds and reshape the coastline with pounding waves. We are invited into the waters of baptism for the forgiveness of our sins to become children of God. What properties do we perceive the water has? How we envision the water affects our relationship to Jesus and the Father. Do we feel coldness in the water that casts a chill? Does murkiness cloud our acuity? Do we filter the water to remove impurities or infuse it with sweet flavors to soften the reality of our responsibilities? Do we accept the continual refreshment of our baptism to be receptive for the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The water of baptism cannot be bought. The only prerogative is to thirst, with the realization that we can never be satisfied with imitations of the Living Water, richly flowing in mercy and forgiveness.
The water of baptism flows with grace. A grace we must continually share to water the earth with justice to make the land fertile for peace. Then our baptism does not return to the Divine void, but does His will , achieving its purpose. We continually must draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation with strength and courage from the Lord. With baptism, as God’s children, we conquer the world, not in physical violence and dominance, but with faith to genuinely believe our sins are forgiven. To live in the freedom of knowing the hollowness of earthly desires, absorb the Lord’s blessing of peace and share that gift without partiality.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
How has the Lord blessed you with peace? How will you bless others with peace?
Family Reflection: Mark 1:7-11
Talk about the significance of Holy Water, how it is a reminder of our baptism and why we make the sign of the cross entering and leaving a church.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for guiding us to the waters of baptism. A continually unfolding Sacrament of grace, as we realize the transformative power of water to forgive our sins and unify us as disciples of the Gospel. Help us to realize the sacramental bond of unity among all the baptized and not to fragment ourselves in trivial narrowness. For you call us to union with yourself and the Father, void of partiality. Give us the courage to live our baptismal call and share the peace, joy and freedom in love. In your dear name we pray, Amen.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born, January 1, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.