Dear sisters and brothers,
The feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas season. This festive season does not leave Jesus as a baby lying in a manger. By the end of the Christmas season, Jesus is an adult who calls us to follow him. The baptism of Jesus is the prototype for our own baptism. Through baptism of water and the Holy Spirit, we come to share in the life of the Father and Son. Gracious words were spoken to Jesus: “’You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you”. These same words are spoken to us at the time of our baptism, and continue to be spoken to us in every moment of every day: “You are my son or daughter, the Beloved; my favour rests on you”. Imagine if we were able to hear these words clearly; imagine how different we might be. To see ourselves as “the Beloved” is not to puff ourselves up with pride or arrogance, nor is it not to admit we are unfaithful as the Beloved. It is simply to recognise the claim that God makes on us in baptism. This is not a claim we make about ourselves. It is the claim of the seal of love that God places on us and within us.
In the baptismal rite, there is a little ritual called the “Ephphatha Rite” in which we touch the ears and eyes of the newly-baptised. “Ephphatha” means “be open”. It was a word that Jesus used when he open the ears of the deaf man. When we pray this prayer, we are praying that all the baptised – even those of us who cannot remember their baptism – will be open to “hearing” and “seeing” the mystery of God. This feast day challenges us to listen to a voice that is deeper than all our false images of God, deeper than all our destructive images about ourselves, and deeper than our feelings of alienation or distance from God. Because of our baptism, there is a constant inner voice that says to us, “You are my son or daughter, the Beloved; my favour rests on you”. We are called to listen to this voice.
At the 9am Mass this Sunday, we also acknowledge those who are responding to this voice by wishing to be baptised and become full members of the Church. Beginning some months ago, a small group has been gathering regularly to prepare to be initiated or be welcomed into the Church at the Easter Vigil later this year. Through the Rite of Acceptance, we formally welcome Tina Locantro and Indianna Wort into the Order of Catechumens. A catechumen is a person who is not baptised but formally desires to enter into a process of formation for Christian initiation through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. We also welcome Cate Barrett and James Kelaher who are baptised but who desire to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. There will be other steps along the way. However, on this Sunday, this community welcomes Tina, Indianna, Cate and James through pray and ritual, and promises to support them in preparation for Easter festivities. Please keep Tina, Indianna, Cate, James and their sponsors in your prayers as they continue their preparation and formation.
|Jun 24, 2016
|The Baptism of the Lord 10.01.2016