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Monday, January 8, 2018

BAPTISM OF JESUS-PLOUGH MONDAY



Sirach, Chapter 15, Verse 13
Abominable wickedness the LORD hates and he does not let it happen to those who fear him.

Have you ever been so angry; livid at someone or something and then discovered the reason for your anger was directly correlated to a defect in yourself that you had buried and chose to ignore. We all have and then realized that we are not as perfect as we pretend to be. Let us reflect on Paul’s advice to the Ephesians, “Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth. (Eph 4:17-20) By the renewal of our minds we through Christ’s grace check our feelings, moods and prejudices or preferences and strive to maintain the right intensions.

Lord, Grant that I may follow Your words in my daily life. Let Your truth teach me, guide me, and protect me and may it deliver me from all evil desires and foolish love. Let me esteem nothing as great, or valuable, or wonderful, except insofar as it makes me better and more pleasing in your eyes. In this way I shall never be a slave of this earth, but shall walk daily towards Heaven in Holy Fear.[1]



Catechism of the Catholic Church


III. THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE

Conjugal fidelity

2364 The married couple forms "the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent." Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

2365 Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one's given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world. St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.

Catholic Calendar[2]

Read: "The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. "The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. . Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin—Original and actual—and begin to live a new life with God." "In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ's call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love." 

Reflect: "In the one Body of Christ, all the members share 'a common dignity' so that 'no inequality arising from race or nationality, social condition or sex' exists, for all are one in Christ"

Pray in thanksgiving for a child in your family today.

Act: "After being baptized, we acknowledge or receive a white garment to signify that we have risen with Christ. We receive a lighted candle, which symbolizes that we are a new creation, enlightened by Christ. We are now called to carry that light into the dark world to extend the light to others. The gifts given at Baptism, Pope Benedict XVI writes, are for 'the building up of Christ's Body (1 Cor 12) and for ever greater witness to the Gospel in the world' At the start of this year, think about ways that you can bring more of Christ's light to the world.

Baptism of Jesus[3]


"Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near" (Is 55, 6).

These words from the second part of the Book of Isaiah ring out on this Sunday that ends the Christmas season. They are an invitation to go more deeply into the meaning for us of today's Feast, the Baptism of the Lord. In spirit let us return to the banks of the Jordan where John the Baptist administered a Baptism of repentance, exhorting to conversion. Coming up to the Precursor is Jesus, and with his presence he transformed that gesture of repentance into a solemn manifestation of his divinity. A voice suddenly comes from heaven:  "You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased" (Mk 1, 11) and, in the form of a dove, the Spirit descends upon Jesus. In that extraordinary event, John saw realized what had been said about the Messiah born in Bethlehem, adored by the shepherds and the Magi. He was the very One foretold by the prophets, the beloved Son of the Father; we must seek him while he can be found and call upon him while he is at hand. In Baptism every Christian personally meets him; he is inserted into the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection and receives a new life, which is the life of God. What a great gift and what a great responsibility!

Blessing of Water[4]

The commemoration of our Lord's Baptism in the Jordan led to a number of impressive blessings concerning water. In Palestine, the river Jordan itself was blessed, with throngs of the faithful immersing in it three times to obtain the blessing, while in Egypt, the whole Christian population and its livestock would show up for the blessing of the Nile and do the same thing. In Byzantium, Epiphany water was blessed in church and then distributed. Rome followed this custom, instituting it on the Vigil of the feast. The formula for the blessing may be found in the Roman ritual.

Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Dear brethren, through the Paschal Mystery we have been buried with Christ in Baptism, that we may walk with him in newness of life. And so, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism, which we once renounced Satan and his works and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.
And so I ask you:

V. Do you renounce Satan?

R. I do.

V. And all his works?

R. I do.

V. And all his empty show?

R. I do.

OR:
V. Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?

R. I do.

V. Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you?

R. I do.

V. Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

R. I do.

V. And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life.

R. Amen.



Plough Monday is the traditional start of the English agricultural year. While local practices may vary, Plough Monday is generally the first Monday after Twelfth Day (Epiphany), 6 January. The day traditionally saw the resumption of work after the Christmas period.

As we begin our working year let us remember that our primary work in the world as a follower of Christ is to do his will for us putting our hand on the plough and looking forward to the year; may all of our days and rows be straight.

No man, having put his hand ... - To put one's hand to a plow is a proverbial expression to signify undertaking any business. In order that a plowman may accomplish his work, it is necessary to look onward - to be intent on his employment - not to be looking back with regret that he undertook it. So in religion; He that enters on it must do it with his whole heart, He that comes still loving the world - still looking with regret on its pleasures, its wealth, and its honors - that has not "wholly" forsaken them as his portion, cannot be a Christian, and is not fit for the kingdom of God. How searching is this test to those who profess to be Christians! And how solemn the duty of all people to renounce all earthly objects, and to be not only "almost," but "altogether," followers of the Son of God! It is perilous to tamper with the world - to look at its pleasures or to seek its society. He that would enter heaven must come with a heart full of love to God; giving "all" into his hands, and prepared always to give up all his property, his health, his friends, his body, his soul to God, when he demands them, or he cannot be a Christian. Religion is everything or nothing. He that is not willing to sacrifice "everything" for the cause of God, is really willing to sacrifice nothing.[5]

49 Godly Character Traits[6]

During this Christmas season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Sensitivity vs. Callousness

Exercising my senses so I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me (Romans 12:15)

1466 The confessor is not the master of God's forgiveness, but its servant. The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ. He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior, experience of human affairs, respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen; he must love the truth, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity. He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord's mercy.

1851 It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate's cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas' betrayal - so bitter to Jesus, Peter's denial and the disciples' flight. However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world, the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.

God indeed is my salvation; I am confident and unafraid. For the LORD is my strength and my might, and he has been my salvation.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Christmas Calendar
·         Nineveh 90 Day 8
·         Please pray for me and this ministry



[1] Paone, Anthony J., Our Daily Bread, 1954.
[3] HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II, Sistine Chapel, Sunday, 12 January 2003
[5] Barnes' Notes on the Bible
[6]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-Tcharacter-qualities/ 

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