First Sunday after epiphany
BAPTISM OF JESUS
Acts, Chapter 10, verse 34-35
34 Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. 35 Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.
God shows no impartiality. This is true today as it was in the time of Peter. Rome had no fear of God when it came to the sins of the flesh and lust of the eyes having killed an estimated 400,000 human beings in the coliseum. Yet Rome as terrible as it was pales in comparison to the sins of America with 60,069,971 abortions in America since Roe v. Wade in 1973. God shows no impartiality to Nations either. Each receives their due.
God is no respecter of rank or titles and asks us to combat the evil in our day. Pope John Paul has proclaimed “Here is the remedy against evil. Pray, pray, and nothing more.
Michael Brown in his book “Prayer of the Warrior,” reminds us that it was Luke who mentions that Jesus very frequently stated: “Unless you repent you will all perish.” (Lk. 13:3) To save us our Lord has not abandoned us we have His church and the Virgin Mary’s apparitions during these last days. She constantly emphasizes prayer, conversion, fasting, penance, and faith. At Medjugorje she has stated, “Members of all faiths are equal before God. God rules over each faith just like a sovereign over his kingdom. In the world, all religions are not the same because all people have not complied with the commandments of God. They reject and disparage them.” Indeed, God shows no impartiality there are saints of God that are not catholic. The Virgin told the seers of Medjugorje that there was a saint in the village, and they were astonished because this person was a Muslim.
The eight things Catholics and Muslims agree on
Senior leaders from the Catholic Church and the Muslim community have issued an eight-point joint statement reflecting their shared beliefs. The document, which is the result of the fourth Catholic-Muslim colloquium on interreligious dialogue, includes a call for basic human rights to be protected by law, a pledge of solidarity with all those in need, a rejection of all forms of proselytism and a focus on the right of young people to an education that is “respectful of diversity”. At the end of a two-day meeting at the Vatican entitled ‘Shared values in social and political life: Christian and Muslim perspectives. Delegates from a dozen different countries came together, organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Jordan’s Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. They were joined by Pope Francis on the concluding day. Former Canadian ambassador to the Holy See, Anne Leahy, who currently teaches Catholic Social Thought at McGill University in Montreal said “there was a meeting of minds” on the important values that Muslims and Christians share in terms of being good citizens acting together for the common good. “We hear too much about what our differences are”, she said, so it’s important now “to witness that there are basic values we share that can counter the negativity”. Muslims and Christians can work with all people of good will who do not profess a religion, so “inclusivity was a hallmark here”, she says.
However, a month earlier the Vatican’s chief inter-faith expert, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, warned that dialogue with Muslims had so far produced “negligible results” and failed to prevent the threatened eradication of Christianity in the Middle East. The Cardinal said: "We meet, we observe and listen to each other - but the problem is that all these small achievements don't translate at all into law and administration, or into the lives of ordinary people. The dialogue is just too elitist".
The eight-point agreement stated:
1. We share beliefs and moral values. Our commonalities are much more than our particularities, and they constitute a solid basis peacefully and fruitfully living together, also with persons of good will who do not profess a particular religion.
2. We believe in the humanizing and civilizing role of our religions, when their followers adhere to their principles of worshipping God and loving and caring for the other.
3. We believe that God bestowed upon every person dignity and inalienable rights. They are His gifts that should be recognized, guaranteed and protected by law.
4. We pledge our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in humanity who are in any kind of need regardless of their ethnic, religious or cultural background.
6. Our help to the poor and the needy should be offered out of compassion and for the sake of God's favor. It should never be used to proselytize.
6. We believe that the youth represent not only the future of humanity. They are also an important part of its present. They have the right to proper education that prepares them to be good citizens respectful of diversity.
7. Our world, our "common home", is going through many complicated crises and needs the steady efforts of its inhabitants to make it a suitable place where we can live together peacefully, sharing the resources of the universe, mindful of future generations.
8. We express our proximity and solidarity with all those who suffer, especially from violence and armed conflict. Respect for international law, dialogue, justice, mercy, compassion are values and adequate means to achieve peace and harmony.
First Sunday after Epiphany
AT the Introit of the Mass the Church animates us to adore and obey God willingly and joyfully. “Upon a high throne I saw a man sitting, Whom a multitude of angels adored, singing together, Behold Him, the name of Whose empire is eternity” (Dan. vii.). “Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. xcix. 2).
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in Thy heavenly mercy, the prayers of Thy suppliant people, that they may both see what they ought to do, and may be enabled to do what they see.
EPISTLE. Rom. xii. 1-5.
Brethren: I beseech you, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be reformed in the newness of your mind: that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided to everyone the measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How can we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God?
By keeping the body and its members clean from all sin, serving God with soul and body. Thus, to serve God, with our soul and body, is our reasonable service, and the vocation of every Christian.
What does St. Paul mean by the comparison of one body and many members?
He means that we Christians belong all to one body, the Church, the head of which is Christ. Now, as all the members of the body work for its welfare, so should every Christian minister to the wants of all in the Church. One should join the other in the work of salvation; should instruct or punish, warn, admonish, or correct, as there is occasion for it. This is true love, such as we ought to have, one for another, and happy are we when we thus love in word and deed.
Grant, O Jesus, that I may present my soul and body a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing, to Thee, by mortification, humiliation, and contrition, and that I may never defile them by impurity, gluttony, lust, vanity, or pride; give me also Thy grace, O my Savior, to love my neighbor as myself, for we are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another.
GOSPEL. Luke ii. 42-52.
When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.
What are we Christians to learn by this?
That we should never miss an opportunity to go to church, particularly on Sundays and holy-days, and there assist at the public services, with inward and outward devotion. Parents should learn from Joseph and Mary to take their children to church and school, and to teach them their prayers and the other exercises of religion.
What lesson does the infant Jesus teach us?
That we also should attend religious instructions, the sermon, and catechism, to learn what is necessary in regard to our salvation.
What do we learn by those words, “Jesus was subject to them”?
That children should obey their parents. When the God Man was thus subject to His poor Mother and to His foster father, who was a plain mechanic, those children should blush who are ashamed of their parents, or refuse to assist them in their old age, poverty, or distress.
Baptism of Jesus A closing celebration of Christ's initial manifestations to the world through His life and early ministry, especially in His baptism by St. John.
"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
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.
R. I do.
V. And all his works?
R. I do.
R. I do.
V. And all his empty show?
R. I do.
R. I do.
The most holy one placed Himself among us, the unclean and sinners. The Son of God freely humbled Himself at the hand of the Baptist. By His baptism in the Jordan, Christ manifests His humility and dedicates Himself to the redemption of man. He takes upon Himself the sins of the whole world and buries them in the waters of the Jordan. — The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
Thru February 25
Ice carving in Northeast China is said to have developed back to the Qing dynasty when fishermen would pull ice from the Songhua River to carve into lanterns. All those years of experience evolved into the epic Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival, with artists and sculptors competing to create the largest, most extravagant and intricately detailed structures. Attracting 10 to 15 million visitors a year, entire buildings are recreated in frozen form to make a city of ice. The sculptures are life-size versions of famous buildings, structures and characters, all created by master sculptors and artists. Observe the sculptures during the day, and engage in other optional activities such as sledding, ice hockey and ice mini golf. Revisit the festival at night, when the ice is lit up with colorful lights.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after SUNSET ON SATURDAY till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II, Sistine Chapel, Sunday, 12 January 2003