Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Baptism of the Lord

(this meditation is from the Word Among Us magazine)
The Gospel of St. Mark 1:7-11. Today's Gospel can leave us with a puzzling question: Why did Jesus allow himself to be Baptized? He hadn't sinned, so he didn't need to repent. On one level, we can see that Jesus' baptism marked the beginning of his public ministry. We can also see how it showed that Jesus was completely submitted to his Father's will - even if it meant embracing the " baptism of fire" that was to be his death on the cross. Another dimension of Jesus' baptism: it marked his entry into the community of those awaiting the kingdom of God. When Jesus was baptized, he joined a community of Jews who believed that repentance had the power to bring them into a new time of God's favor and blessing.
But Jesus just didn't enter this community, he transformed them. He showed them that the new era they were awaiting was one of closeness to him. It was an era marked by the power of God active in their lives. And it was an era filled with the promise of a new heart and a new mind.
Jesus wants us to live in community, united with one another and empowered by his Spirit. Baptism into Christ means baptism into his church. So let's pray for each other in our parish, and let's commit to loving each other in Christ.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Memorial - Most Holy Name of Jesus

This Franciscan feast day in honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus was spread in Italy and Europe by St. Bernadine of Siena, he preached against 'gambling' and apparently it was so effective that he put a local Card-player producer out of business. When the saint preached with a placard with IHS, the short form for Jesus in Greek, many people wanted to have one for their home. The local Card-player producer became even more wealthy as he assembled the placards with IHS. This feast was promulgated in 1530 for the Franciscans by Pope Clement VII, and it was extended to the whole Catholic Church by Pope Innocent XIII in the year1721.
With the revisions of Vatican Council II, it was assigned as an Optional Memorial. It is not found in the Roman Liturgy Hours, but it remains in the Franciscan book of Christian Prayer.
The Holy Name of Jesus was invoked by the faithful from the very beginning of the Church.

Ant. 1 O Lord, how glorious is your name through all the earth.
Ant. 2 At Jesus' name every knee must bend in the heavens, on earth, and under the earth.
Ant. 3 Give glory to the Lord and call upon his name; remember that his name is exalted.

O God, may we venerate his name on earth and also his presence in heaven!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Feast of Mary, Mother of God

I have been trying to decide what to write for this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and also an important Franciscan feast day of an American Francisan Martyr, Juan de Padillo.
So I have chosen some of the Antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours for Jan.1
Ant.1 'O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of a virgin. We have been made sharer's in the Divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Ant. 3 Mary has given birth to a King whose name is everlasting; hers the joy of motherhood, hers the the virgin's glory. Never was the like seen before; never shall it be seen again, alleluia

Oh! the divine life that we share with Jesus Christ from our baptism.Can we really fathom the depths, and appreciate this gift that has been given to us who are believers. The kindness of God and the generosity in marking out Mary to be the Mother of Jesus Christ. From her conception, the Lord blessed her and kept her, preserved her from the stain of 'original sin.' She did nothing to earn such a blessing. Imagine her love for 'Abba-father', she was a chosen daughter of the race of Israel.
Mother of Jesus, pray for us.

Father Juan de Padilla, First Order of St. Francis of Assisi - Protomartyr of the United States of America, died in Kansas. He was born about 1492 and arrived 50 years after the discovery of the New World, by Christopher Columbus, a Franciscan tertiary. Father Padilla with other Franciscans, worked among the Quivara & Kaw Indians. Having preached the Gospel to them, he succeded in converting a large number of them. When he faced his death kneeling, he realized his most ardent desire - the felicity of martrydom by the arrows of these natives. Because of granted favors through the intercession of Father Juan de Padillo, Bishop Henry Tihen of Denver diosese granted him the honor of being the protomartyr of the United States.