First Sunday after epiphany
BAPTISM OF JESUS
Genesis, Chapter 21, Verse 14-18
14 Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and
a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the
wilderness of Beer-sheba, 15 the water
in the skin was used up. So, she put the child down under one of the bushes, 16 and then went and sat down opposite him,
about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, “I cannot watch the child die.” As
she sat opposite him, she wept aloud. 17 God heard
the boy’s voice, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the
matter, Hagar? Do not FEAR; God has heard the boy’s voice in this plight
of his. 18 Get up, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand;
for I will make of him a great nation.”
Hagar was the servant of Sarah. Hagar was also the mother of Abraham’s firstborn illegitimate son Ishmael. The situation here was horrendous, due to Sarah’s practical nature; she gave her slave to Abraham to raise as a son to give his inheritance, too. According to Islamic sources it was Ishmael that Abraham tried to offer as a sacrifice to God at the Dome of the rock in Jerusalem. A war ensued between the mother of Ishmael and the mother of Isaac. Now that Sarah had her own son--Hagar and her son was a threat to Sarah and Sarah wanted her and her son dead.
Fear is the root of the evil between Sarah and Hagar. Sarah and Hagar feared the loss of life and property for their son’s; and unfortunately, this in-house squabble continues today with the descendants of Abraham (The Jews and the Arabs). Here we see God sends his angel to pronounce to Hagar, dying of thirst and having to watch her son die of thirst, to not be afraid. Legend has it that the angel produced life giving water for Hagar and Ishmael and the courage to continue. Blood feuds are the worst and are usually caused by fear which leads to puffed up pride and envy. Pride and envy are a slow poison to avoid. Today would be a good day to reflect if we have given in to this type of poison.
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
The Celebration of the Creator's Work
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Gn 1:1)
10. Coming as it does from the hand of God, the cosmos bears the imprint of his goodness. It is a beautiful world, rightly moving us to admiration and delight, but also calling for cultivation and development. At the "completion" of God's work, the world is ready for human activity. "On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done" (Gn 2:2). With this anthropomorphic image of God's "work", the Bible not only gives us a glimpse of the mysterious relationship between the Creator and the created world, but also casts light upon the task of human beings in relation to the cosmos. The "work" of God is in some ways an example for man, called not only to inhabit the cosmos, but also to "build" it and thus become God's "co-worker". As I wrote in my Encyclical Laborem Exercens, the first chapters of Genesis constitute in a sense the first "gospel of work". This is a truth which the Second Vatican Council also stressed: "Created in God's image, man was commissioned to subdue the earth and all it contains, to rule the world in justice and holiness, and, recognizing God as the creator of all things, to refer himself and the totality of things to God so that with everything subject to God, the divine name would be glorified in all the earth".
The exhilarating advance of science, technology and culture in their various forms — an ever more rapid and today even overwhelming development — is the historical consequence of the mission by which God entrusts to man and woman the task and responsibility of filling the earth and subduing it by means of their work, in the observance of God's Law.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Do you renounce Satan?
R. I do.
And all his works?
R. I do.
And all his empty show?
R. I do.
Christmas Weekday - Day Seventeen
Every country in the world has its own Christmas customs. Christmas in Australia is often very hot. Whereas the northern hemisphere is in the middle of winter, Australians are baking in summer heat. It is not unusual to have Christmas Day well into the mid 30 degrees Celsius, or near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. A traditional meal includes a turkey dinner, with ham, and pork. A flaming Christmas plum pudding is added for dessert. In the Australian gold rushes, Christmas puddings often contained a gold nugget. Today a small favor is baked inside. Whoever finds this knows that they will enjoy good luck. Another treat is Mince Pies. It is Father Christmas who brings the presents to the Australian children on Christmas Eve. Homes and gardens are decorated with greenery, Christmas tree and fairy lights. Seasonal plants are the Christmas bush and the Christmas bell.
· Day Seventeen activity (Candles by Candlelight)
· Day Seventeen recipe (Australian Christmas Pudding)
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II, Sistine Chapel, Sunday, 12 January 2003