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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 01-13-13, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord ^ | 01-13-13 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 01/12/2013 8:36:24 PM PST by Salvation

January 13, 2013


Feast of the Baptism of the Lord


Reading 1 Is 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Or Is 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by a strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10.

R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Or Ps 104:1b-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul.
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
you are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
You have spread out the heavens like a tent-cloth;
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
You have constructed your palace upon the waters.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you travel on the wings of the wind.
You make the winds your messengers,
and flaming fire your ministers.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
the sea also, great and wide,
in which are schools without number
of living things both small and great.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
They look to you to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.

Reading 2 Acts 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”

Or Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7

The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Gospel Lk 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas; prayer; saints
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1 posted on 01/12/2013 8:36:36 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 01/12/2013 8:40:53 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

First Song of the Servant of the Lord

(Thus says the Lord,) [1] “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in
whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth jus-
tice to the nations. [2] He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the
street; [3] a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not
quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. [4] He will not fail or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.

[6] “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the
hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the
nations, [7] to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the
dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”


42:1-9. The Lord, who revealed his power by creating the world (40:12-31) and
showed his determination to save mankind by his intervention in history (4l:1-29),
now announces a new stage in his plans (v. 9). To advance them he will give a
special mission to the “servant of the Lord”; in the prophetic text, this personage
plays the key role in making known and putting into effect the salvific plans of
God. Four passages over the course of chapters 42-55 speak of the servant and
his mission; these passages may originally have made up a poem of their own.
These oracles are usually called the “Songs of the Servant”. Most biblical scho-
lars see 42:1-9 as being the first song or, rather, the first stanza of that poem.
The other three passages are: 49:1-6; 50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12. They combine
to make a very beautiful poem, but they raise difficult questions as to style and
content. They have been the subject of a great deal of commentary, and the
identity of the “servant” is still a matter of debate. Those who consider the four
passages to be parts of the one poem take it that the “servant” in each is one
and the same person and has one and the same mission. Scholars who do not
regard the four passages as originally part of a single poem interpret the person
and mission of the servant as being different in each.

There are basically three theories as to who the servant is. One theory is that he
is a particular individual — a king of the house of Judah, or the prophet himself or,
Of course, a future Messiah, who will redeem Israel The second theory is that the
servant is a collectivity he stands for Israel, or for some group within Israel. The
third theory argues that the servant is meant to be depicted ambiguously — that is
in a way that allows him to be interpreted in both of the ways mentioned previous-
ly — as a person of significance but someone who can symbolize all Israel.

In this first song (vv 1-9) the servant certainly comes across as a figure of mystery:
v. 1 gives him very special universal transcendental attributes, Verses 2-3a show
his humility but they are followed immediately by verses saying that he is some-
one able to “establish justice in the earth”, to be “a light to the nations’ someone
who can “bring light to the nations” and “open the eyes that are blind and set cap-
tives free...”. The “servant” can do all this because the Lord has “put his Spirit on
him” (cf. v. 1), that is, he is someone chosen by God and he has the help of the
Spirit of the Lord to carry out his mission to teach his Law to the very ends of the
earth. So, these words could be describing the prophet’s own conviction that he
has a mission to perform — to proclaim the word of God; a mission that he did not
seek but, rather, had given to him. But the servant could also stand for the whole
people of Israel (cf. 41:8) — for in the same way were the people chosen by God
to bear witness to him before all mankind concerning the Law they had received
from the Lord.

The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles without attempting to discover exact-
ly who this servant was originally (or whom he was meant to stand for) interpre-
ted the main features of the servant as being a prophecy about Jesus, in whom
the Father is most pleased, and who, in the unity of the Holy Spirit is truly the
light for all nations and the liberation of all the oppressed. For example, in the
accounts of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and of the Transfiguration, the
voice of the Father refers to those features: This is my beloved Son with whom
I am well pleased (Mt 3:17); “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk
9:35). The Gospel of Matthew, which makes a point of showing that the Scrip-
tures find fulfillment in Jesus, explicitly quotes vv. 2-4 of this oracle of Isaiah to
show that in Jesus is fulfilled the prophecy of the servant, who was rejected by
the leaders of the people and whose quiet and kindly teaching would bring the
light of truth to the world (Mt 12:15-21). And later in his Gospel, when St Mat-
thew recounts the passion and death of our Lord (cf. Mt 27:30), he again makes
the link between Christ and the servant.

The expression “light to the nations” (v. 6) seems to find an echo in what Jesus
says about his being the light of the world (Jn 8:12; 9:5) and also in the “Bene-
dictus” of Zechariah (Lk 1:78-79). There is an evocation of v. 7 in Jesus’ reply to
the messengers from John the Baptist who ask him whether he is he who is to
come (cf. Mt 11:4-6: Lk 7:18-22); cf. the note on 29:15-24. And so St Justin will
say, commenting on vv. 6-7: “Everything that is said here, my friends, refers to
Christ and to the peoples who have been enlightened by his presence” (Dialo-
gus Cum Tryphone”, 122, 2).

The Church in the Second Vatican Council acknowledges her duty to strive to
use every opportunity to show that Christ is truly, the “light of the nations” (v. 6):
“Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered
together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires by proclaiming the Gospel to every
creature, to bring the light of Christ to all men a light brightly visible on the
countenance of the Church (”Lumen Gentium”, 1).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

3 posted on 01/12/2013 8:41:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Prologue: Promise of Deliverance

[1] Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. [2] Speak tenderly to Jerusa-
lem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that
she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. [3] A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a
highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill
be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a
plain. [5] And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it
together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

[9] Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your
voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say
to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” [10] Behold, the Lord God comes with
might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recom-
pense before him. [11] He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the
lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that
are with young.


40:1-55:13. These chapters make up the second part of the book of Isaiah, also
known as “Second Isaiah” or “Deutero-Isaiah”. Almost everything here refers to a
period of history one or two centuries later than that of “First Isaiah”. The oppres-
sor is no longer Assyria but Babylon, which conquered Jerusalem in 587-586 BC,
and then began a series of deportations that sent the upper classes of Jerusalem
and Judah into exile. Many years later (539 BC), Cyrus, king of the Persians,
conquered the Babylonians and issued a decree allowing those deportees who
so wished to return home. These events are echoed in Second Isaiah’s oracles,
songs, lamentations and denunciations,and the prophetic visions of the final, en-
during deliverance and restoration of the chosen people and the city of Zion.

The various literary units in this part of the book are grouped into two Is 52:7-11
sections more or less by subject. The first (40:1-48:22) implies that the Jews are
still held against their will in Babylon. Their deliverance is announced, thanks to
the power of the Lord, who rules the world and determines the course of human
affairs; he has chosen Cyrus, king of Persia, called here his “anointed”, his mes-
siah, to redeem Israel from exile (44:24-45:25).

This section, too, contains the announcement that God will choose a “servant”,
whom he will send empowered by the Spirit to establish law and justice (42:1-9,
the first “song of the Servant”).

The second section celebrates the glorious restoration of the people of God on
Zion; in this, too, the “Servant of the Lord” will play the key role; the section con-
tains the last three “songs of the Servant” (49: 1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).

40:1-48:22. The historical background to these chapters is the time immediately
after the return of the exiles from Babylon, which is depicted as a “new exodus”.
The exodus from Egypt was the prototype of all God’s interventions on his peo-
ple’s behalf: now we hear of another one, “new” because the power with which
God, the Creator of all things, acts now surpasses that to be seen in the exodus.
The news that deliverance is at hand greatly consoles the people: we are told
this at the start, and it is repeated in the oracles that follow. For this reason, this
part of the book of Isaiah is usually called the “Book of Consolation”, and it has
been interpreted as an anticipation of the consolation that Christ will bring: “The
true consolation, balm and release from all human ills is the Incarnation of our
God and Saviour” (Theodoret of Cyrus, “Commentaria In Isaiam”, 40, 3).

The section opens with a song of joy over the imminent release of the exiles (40:
1-11). After this a number of oracles are grouped together which describe the rea-
son why the people should hope in the Lord who is mighty and desires to save,
who is ready to do so (42:1-25), to manifest himself as the Redeemer of Israel
(43:1-44:23) and bring salvation to Jerusalem (44:24-48:19). The section ends
with a prophecy of the redemption of his people and a call to leave Babylon (48:

40:1-11. The section begins on a formal note with an anonymous voice proclai-
ming the Lord’s consolation (vv 1-5) The same voice calls on the prophet himself
to proclaim that the word of God and his message of salvation will endure forever
(vv. 6-11). The oracles are addressed to those people of Jerusalem who have
been deported to Babylon. When they were first spoken, many decades had
passed since these people and the previous generation were forced to leave the
holy city. Those years of suffering and exile have more than atoned for their sins.
The time comes for them, with the Lord’s help, to set out on the return journey.
That journey is mentioned throughout this section. The voice speaking in the
name of the Lord boosts their morale: it won’t be a difficult journey; they will find
a way opened up for them which will bring them to the glory of the Lord. As in
the exodus from Egypt, on the “way” from Babylon to Jerusalem they will see
wonderful evidence of the power of God. The words spoken by the mysterious
voice, inviting them to set out, fills the returnees with hope.

The four Gospels see these words fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist,
who is the voice crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord” (cf. v. 3).
And, indeed, John, with his call to personal conversion and his baptism of repen-
tance, does prepare the way for people to find Jesus (cf. Mt 3:3; Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4;
Jn 1:23), whom the Gospels confess to be “the Lord” (cf. v. 3). John the Baptist
is his herald, the “precursor”: “The voice commands that a way be opened for
the Word of God, the path smoothed and all obstacles removed: when our God
comes, he will be able to walk without hindrance. Prepare the way of the Lord:
this means to preach the gospel and to offer consolation to his people, with the
desire that the salvation of God embrace all mankind” (Eusebius of Caesarea,
“Commentana In Isaiam”, 40, 366). Hence, in Christian tradition, “John the Bap-
tist is ‘more than a prophet’ (Lk 7:26). In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his spea-
king through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah
(cf. Mt 11:13-14). He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is
the ‘voice’ of the Consoler who is coming (Jn 1:23; cf. Is 40:1-3)” (”Catechism of
the Catholic Church”, 719).

In the second part of the oracle, the anonymous voice asks the prophet to speak
in the name of the Lord (vv. 6-8). Merely human plans can only go so far; but the
word of God stands forever In the things that the voice says there must be an al-
lusion to the might of Babylon, which withers like the “flower of the field” when
the “breath of the Lord blows upon it”, because it challenged the goodness of
God. The message to be given to the people speaks of trusting in the power of
God, who comes not to lay waste but to protect and recompense those in his
care (vv. 9-11). Here we find for the first time the simile of the “flock” being ap-
plied to the people of God, one of a number of figures of speech used in Holy
Scripture to describe God’s tender care of his people (cf. Jer 23:3; Ezek 34:1ff;
Ps 23:4) and which Christian tradition uses to explain the mystery of the Church:
“The Church is a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ (Jn 10:
1-10). It is a flock of which God himself foretold he would be the shepherd (Is 40:
11; Ezek 34:11-31), and whose sheep, although ruled by human shepherds, are
nevertheless continuously led and nourished by Christ himself, the Good Shep-
herd and the Prince of the shepherds (cf. Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4), who gave his life
for the sheep (cf. Jn 10:11-15)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 6). The words of
vv. 6-8 will later be used in the First Letter of St Peter to confirm the validity of
the precept of brotherly love (1 Pet 1:24-25).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 01/12/2013 8:42:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Acts 10:34-38

Peter’s Address

[34] And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no
partiality, [35] but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right
is acceptable to him. [36] You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching
good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), [37] the word which was
proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which
John preached: [38] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit
and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were op-
pressed by the devil, for God was with him.


34-43. Peter’s short address is his first to non-Jews. It begins with the central
idea that God is impartial: he wants all men to be saved through the proclama-
tion of the Gospel (vv. 34-36). This is followed by a summary of Jesus’ public
life (vv. 37-41) and, finally, the statement (the first time it appears in Acts) that
Jesus Christ has been made Judge of the living and the dead (v. 42). As in all
Christian preaching to Gentiles, proofs from Scripture take a secondary place
(v. 43).

34. This verse refers to 1 Samuel 16:7, where the Lord, in connection with the
anointing of David as king of Israel, tells the prophet, “Do not look on his appea-
rance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord
sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord
looks on the heart.” When God calls and offers salvation to his elect, he does
not judge as men do. With him distinctions regarding social class, race, sex
or education do not count.

Here St Peter proclaims that the Old Testament prophecies about the Jews
and the Gentiles forming one single nation (Is 2:2-4; Joel 2:28; Amos 9:12;
Mich 4:1 ) and Jesus’ words calling everyone to enter his Kingdom (cf. Mt 8:11;
Mk 16:15-16; Jn 10:16) should be interpreted literally.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 01/12/2013 8:43:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7

The Incarnation, the Basis of Christian Ethics and Piety

[2:11] For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, [12] training
us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and god-
ly lives in this world, [13] awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of
our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, [14] who gave himself for us to redeem us
from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for
good deeds.

[Beloved], [3:4] ... when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior ap-
peared, [5] he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but
in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Ho-
ly Spirit, [6] which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
[7] so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eter-
nal life.


2:11-14. This section is almost like a hymn in praise of saving grace and God’s
loving kindness as manifested in Christ. The terse, sober style, with phrases
piled on one another, and very few verbs, is typical of St. Paul. The duties just
described (2:1-10) — of older men, women, young people and slaves — all point
to Christians’ having a common lifestyle, which is the fruit of grace. God is the
source of that grace, and salvation its goal, and it is given to us through Jesus

Thus, divine grace manifested in the Incarnation is actively at work to redeem us;
it brings salvation; it sanctifies us, enabling us to live godly lives; and it is the ba-
sis of our hope in the second coming of the Lord. All these dimensions of the ac-
tion of grace summarize revealed doctrine on righteousness (justification) in Je-
sus Christ. Thus, in the Incarnation, God’s salvific will, embracing all men, is ma-
nifested in a special way (cf. 1 Tim 2:4); in the Redemption, Christ, the only Me-
diator and Savior (cf. 1 Tim 2:5) obtains for us the gift of grace, whereby man be-
comes a sharer in the good things of salvation. Jesus is our model; by means of
grace he instructs the Christian on how to control his defects and grow in virtue.
The instruction we receive is not only an external one: God inwardly moves us to
seek holiness (cf. Rom 5:1-5 and note). Grace also channels our hope, for Chris-
tians are motivated not only by the memory of a past event (our Lord’s life on
earth) but also, and especially, by the fact that Jesus is in the glory of heaven
even now and that we are invited to share his inheritance (cf. 2 Pet 3:12-13).

13. “The glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”: an explicit confession
of faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, who is stated at one and at the same time
(with only one article in the original Greek) to be God and Savior. This expression
is the hinge on which the entire hymn turns: Jesus Christ our God is the one who
came at the Incarnation, who will manifest himself fully at his second coming,
and who through his work of redemption has made it possible for man to live a
life pleasing to God.

This verse is reminiscent of Romans 9:5, where St. Paul wrote: “to them belong
the patriarchs, and of their race according to the flesh is the Christ, who is God
over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

14. The mention of Jesus Christ at the end of the previous verse leads St. Paul to
summarize the doctrine of the Redemption in this lovely passage. Four essential
elements in redemption are listed: Christ’s self-giving; redemption from all iniquity;
purification; and Christ’s establishment of a people of his own dedicated to good
deeds. The reference to Christ’s self-giving clearly means whereby we are set
free from the slavery of sin; Christ’s sacrifice is the cause of the freedom of the
children of God (analogously, God’s action during the Exodus liberated the peo-
ple of Israel). Purification, a consequence of redemption, enables a man to be-
come part of God’s own people (cf. Ezek 37-23). The expression “a people of his
own” is a clear allusion to Exodus 19:5: through the covenant of Sinai God made
Israel his own people, different from other nations; through the New Covenant of
his blood Jesus forms his own people, the Church, which is open to all nations:
“As Israel according to the flesh which wandered in the desert was already called
the Church of God, so, too, the new Israel, which advances in this present era in
search of a future and permanent city, is called also the Church of Christ. It is
Christ indeed who has purchased it with his own blood; he has filled it with his
Spirit; he has provided means adapted to its visible and social union [...]. Des-
tined to extend to all regions of the earth, it enters into human history, though it
transcends at once all times and all racial boundaries” (”Lumen Gentium”, 9).

3-7. The main subject of the chapter is the theological basis of social obligations
(vv. 1-2); every Christian should bear witness to salvation history, to the change
from sin to grace, and the change from an era of slavery and error to the era of
freedom and rebirth ushered in by Christ.

The “old regime” is sketched out in a very vivid way (v. 3), showing the effects
of sin on man in his three dimensions: in relation to himself, sin makes a person
foolish, rebellious, wayward, a slave; in respect of God, he becomes hateful in
his rebellious pride; and as far as others are concerned he becomes their enemy
— “hating one another”.

However, the coming of Christ has opened up a new panorama (vv. 4-7). As else-
where in these letters (cf. 1 Tim 3:15; Tit 2:11-14), we have here a hymn to Christ
which may well have come from primitive Christian liturgy or from a confession of
faith. It summarizes Christian teaching on the Incarnation, the Redemption and
the application of salvation to the individual.

According to this text, the Incarnation is the revelation of God our Savior, who
makes known his goodness (”benignity”, a word which often occurs in the Old
Testament and sometimes in the New: cf. Rom 2:4; 11:22; Gal 5:22; Eph 2:7)
and “loving goodness” (literally “philanthropy”, a word taken from Greek). The
Redemption is referred to in Old Testament language: “he saved us in virtue of
his own mercy.”

Finally, the Christian’s access to salvation is something gratuitous: without any
prior merit on our part, God’s mercy has sought us out (v. 5; cf. note on Rom 3:
27-31); Baptism is the door to salvation, for it is the sacrament of “regeneration
and renewal” (cf. Eph 5:26); the Holy Spirit sent by Christ (cf. Jn 14:26) makes
the waters of Baptism effective; his grace gives life to the soul and entitles it to
eternal life (cf. Gal 4:7; Rom 8:16-17). The Council of Trent specified that “justifi-
cation is not only the remission of sins, but sanctification and renovation of the
interior man through the voluntary reception of grace and gifts whereby a man
becomes just instead of unjust and a friend instead of an enemy, that he may
be an heir in the hope of life everlasting” (”De Iustificatione”, chap. 7).

The magnificent resume of faith in Christ contained in Titus 3:3-7 also helps Chris-
tians see how to approach their work and social involvement; the Second Vatican
Council has reminded us once again that “the promised and hoped-for restoration
has already begun in Christ. It is carried forward in the sending of the Holy Spirit
and through him continues in the Church in which, through our faith, we learn the
meaning of our earthly life, while we bring to term, with hope of future good, the
task allotted to us in the world by the Father, and so work out our salvation”
(”Lumen Gentium”, 48).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

6 posted on 01/12/2013 8:44:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The Preaching of John the Baptist (Continuation)

[15] As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts
concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, [16] John answered them
all, “I baptize you with water; but He who is mightier than I is coming, the thong
of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit
and with fire.

Jesus Is Baptized

[21] Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been bap-
tized and was praying, the heaven was opened, [22] and the Holy Spirit descen-
ded upon Him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from Heaven, “Thou
art My beloved Son; with Thee I am well pleased.”


15-17. Using excessive imagery, John announces Christian Baptism, proclaiming
that he is not the Messiah; He, who is on His way, will come with the authority
of supreme Judge that belongs to God, and with the dignity of the Messiah, who
has no human equal.

21-22. In its liturgy the Church remembers the first three solemn manifestations
of Christ’s divinity—the adoration of the Magi (Mt 2:11), the baptism of Jesus (Lk
3:21-22; Mt 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11) and the first miracle of our Lord worked, at the
wedding at Cana (Jn 2:11). In the adoration of the Magi God revealed the divinity
of Jesus by means of the star. At His baptism the voice of God the Father, co-
ming “from heaven”, reveals to John the Baptist and to the Jewish people — and
thereby to all men—this profound mystery of Christ’s divinity. At the wedding at
Cana, Jesus “manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him” (Jn 2:11).
“When He attained to the perfect age,” St Thomas Aquinas comments, “when
the time came for Him to teach, to work miracles and to draw men to himself,
then was it fitting for His Godhead to be attested to from on high by the Father’s
testimony, so that His teaching might be the more credible: ‘The Father who
sent Me has Himself borne witness to Me’ (Jn 5:37)” (”Summa Theologiae”, III,
q. 39, a. 8 ad 3).

21. In Christ’s baptism we can find a reflection of the way the sacrament of Bap-
tism affects a person. Christ’s baptism was the exemplar of our own. In it the
mystery of the Blessed Trinity was revealed, and the faithful, on receiving Bap-
tism are consecrated by the invocation of and by the power of the Blessed Trini-
ty. Similarly, Heaven opening signifies that the power, the effectiveness, of this
sacrament comes from above, from God, and that the baptized have the road
to Heaven opened up for them, a road which Original Sin had closed. Jesus’s
prayer after His baptism teaches us that “after Baptism man needs to pray con-
tinually in order to enter Heaven; for though sins are remitted through Baptism,
there still remains the inclination to sin which assails us from within, and also
the flesh and the devil which assails us from without” (St Thomas, “ibid.”, III, q.
39, a. 5).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

7 posted on 01/12/2013 8:44:53 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

First reading Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 ©
‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’
Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

First reading Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7 ©
Thus says the Lord:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit
that he may bring true justice to the nations.
He does not cry out or shout aloud,
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed,
nor quench the wavering flame.
Faithfully he brings true justice;
he will neither waver, nor be crushed
until true justice is established on earth,
for the islands are awaiting his law.
I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;
I have taken you by the hand and formed you;
I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.

Psalm Psalm 103:1-4,24-25,27-30 ©
Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.
Lord God, how great you are,
  clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!
  You stretch out the heavens like a tent.
Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.
Above the rains you build your dwelling.
You make the clouds your chariot,
  you walk on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers
  and flashing fire your servant.
Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.
How many are your works, O Lord!
  In wisdom you have made them all.
  The earth is full of your riches.
There is the sea, vast and wide,
  with its moving swarms past counting,
  living things great and small.
Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.
All of these look to you
  to give them their food in due season.
You give it, they gather it up:
  you open your hand, they have their fill.
Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.
You hide your face, they are dismayed;
  you take back your spirit, they die.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
  and you renew the face of the earth.
Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.

Psalm Psalm 28:1-4,9-10 ©
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
O give the Lord, you sons of God,
  give the Lord glory and power;
give the Lord the glory of his name.
  Adore the Lord in his holy court.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The Lord’s voice resounding on the waters,
  the Lord on the immensity of waters;
the voice of the Lord, full of power,
  the voice of the Lord, full of splendour.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders.
  In his temple they all cry: ‘Glory!’
The Lord sat enthroned over the flood;
  the Lord sits as king for ever.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Second reading Titus 2:11-14,3:4-7 ©
God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.
  But when the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.

Second reading Acts 10:34-38 ©
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.
  ‘It is true, God sent his word to the people of Israel, and it was to them that the good news of peace was brought by Jesus Christ – but Jesus Christ is Lord of all men. You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.’

Gospel Acclamation cf.Lk3:16
Alleluia, alleluia!
Someone is coming, said John, someone greater than I.
He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Gospel Luke 3:15-16,21-22 ©
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

8 posted on 01/12/2013 8:48:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray with Pope Benedict

On the Identity of Jesus

On the Faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon (Catholic Caucus)
On The Unfolding of God's Self-Revelation
On the Beauty of God's Plan of Salvation
On Bearing Witness to the Christian Faith
On the Splendor of God's Truth
On the Knowledge of God
Archbishop Chaput says Year of Faith holds solution to relativism
Following the Truth: The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced

On the Desire for God
On the Ecclesial Nature of Faith
On the Nature of Faith
Catechism's benefits explained for Year of Faith (Catholic Caucus)
A Life of Faith: Papal Theologian Speaks on the Grace of Faith
ASIA/LAOS - "Year of Faith" amid the persecutions of Christians forced to become "animists"
From no faith to a mountain-top of meaning: Father John Nepil (Catholic Caucus)
Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin [Catholic Caucus]
Share Your Faith in This Year of Faith: Two keys to help you do it.
On A New Series of Audiences for The Year of Faith

Pope will deliver year-long teaching series on restoring faith
Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful [Catholic Caucus]
Pope, at Marian shrine, entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church Calls for Public Prayers in Offices on Fridays
Highlights in the Plan for Year of Faith: Traditional Events Will Take on Special Perspective
Catholic Church calls for public prayers in offices on Fridays
Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Miami Prelate Recalls Pope's Visit to Cuba, Looks to Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
The World-Changing Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican to Issue Recommendations for Celebrating Year of Faith

9 posted on 01/12/2013 8:49:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Adoration of the Shepherds, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1650-5

Why “Celebrate” Christmas—and the Epiphany?
Pope’s Christmas message warns gender theory is a denial of God and the Bible
Jerusalem (Latin Rite) patriarch's Christmas message surveys Middle East situation
5 Ways to Keep the Christmas Spirit Alive in Your Heart
Pope Says Denying God No Path to Peace in Christmas Eve Mass
Pope: Christmas Urbi et Orbi Message (full text)
Pope Benedict’s Midnight Mass Homily
The Old Testament Foretold that Mary Would Give Birth Without Pain (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Traditions for Advent and Christmas -- for Families
Is Christmas Pagan? No! It's time to learn some real history....
Pope's childhood letter to Baby Jesus shows his faith
In rare article, Pope asks Christians to reassess priorities at Christmas
On Christmas and Epiphany
On Christmas
Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve with Pope Benedict XVI

Christmas, Pagan Romans and Frodo Baggins
Midnight Masses Canceled in Iraq Because of Growing Security Concerns
Christmas Overview for All
The Tradition of Midnight Mass: History
Which Christmas Mass are you attending? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Christmas, Christians, and Christ
The Many Meanings of Christmas
Vocations Under the Christmas Tree? [Catholic Caucus]
A Meditation On the “Bloody Octave” of Christmas [Catholic Caucus]
"It (Theosis) can be a somewhat startling theme for western Christian ears..."
Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Krome detainees
The Octave of Christmas: December 25 -- January 1 [Ecumenical]
Pope's Christmas Warning: 'The Future Of The World Is At Stake'
Father Corapi: What Really Matters [at Christmas]?
Papal Midnight Mass With No Communion in The Hand
Christmas Requiem for Iraq's Christian Community
Christmas story shows season’s beauty [nice surprise from the Chicago Sun Times]
Text Of Pope's Homily For Christmas Eve Mass
Merry Christmas: Love is born on Christmas Morn and the Whole World Begins Again
'Christmas is Evil': Group Launches Poster Campaign Against Festive Period [UK]

The Origin of Nativity Scenes
St. Francis and the Christmas Creche
Holy Day Vs. Holiday: Making Christmas Less Commercial
25 Ways We're Different this Christmas
On Christmas: Where Everything Began
Saved by Christmas
Christmas Midnight Mass Canceled in Iraq
Some Christmas History: The Aztec Christmas Flower
Top 10 Christmas Carols (What is your favorite Christmas Carol?)
Where’s the Human in Humanism? Humanist Ads Violate...Own Humanist Standards (Attacking Christmas]
Fr. Corapi: In Reality, Sadness Has No Place At Christmas Time Or Any Time…
Pope's battle to save Christmas: Don't let atheists crush your traditions, Benedict tells Britain
The Days of Christmastide -- more than twelve!
Saint Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation
"Transform Me. Renew Me. Change Me, Change Us All" (Pope's Midnight Mass Homily)
Christmas in Rome. The Pope's Tale of the Crèche
On the Feast of Christ's Birth [Benedict XVI]
The Meaning of Christmas: Look Deeper
St. Francis and the Christmas crib.
Away in a Manger [St. Francis of Assisi and the first Nativity scene]

Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace [Family]
Christmastide and Epiphany
A Christmas Message >From Fr. Corapi
Christmas and the Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Preface: Memories of Christmas
Christmas Overview
The Manger -- Nativity Scene -- Crêche
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Christmas Quiz; How Much Do You Really Know?
Christmas Prayers: Prayers and Collects for the Feast of the Nativity
[Christmas] Customs from Various Countries and Cultures
The 12 Days of Christmas and Christmastide: A Rich Catholic Tradition
The 12 Days of Christmas -- Activities, Customs, Prayers, Blessings, Hymns -- For the Family
Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass
Pope Wishes the World a Merry Christmas
On this night, a comforting message(Merry Christmas!)
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Bethlehem beyond the Christmas calm
The Origin of Nativity Scenes

Various Orthodox Texts for the Feast of the Nativity
The Five Best Christmas Stories
What Are We Celebrating When We Celebrate Christmas?
Secular Christmas Celebration Pointless, Pope Says
The Wonder of Christmas - 1959
The Real Meaning of Christmas Lights
Top ten Carols and things you didn't know about them
The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Christmas Proclamation
Christmas gifts are a reminder of Jesus, the greatest gift given to mankind, Pope tells youth
The Senses of Christmas
Pope celebrates Christmas mass
Christmas: The Turning Point of History
The Original Christmas Story
Bringing Christmas to Life Again
Christmas: the beginning of our redemption
Christmas and the Eucharist
Catholic Caucus: The 16 Days of Christmas (Christmas to the Baptism of the Lord)
Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas [An Underground Catechism]
Origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" [Underground Catechism]

10 posted on 01/12/2013 8:51:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Leonine Prayers
    Following are the Prayers after Low Mass which were prescribed by Pope Leo XIII who composed the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and were reinforced by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII to pray for the conversion of Russia. Below the normal Leonine Prayers is the longer version of the Prayer to St. Michael, composed by His Excellency Pope Leo XIII to defend against The Great Apostasy.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructis ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

    Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus gementes et fientes in hac lacrymarum valle. Eia ergo, Advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

    Oremus. Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus, populum ad te clamantem propitius respice; et intercedente gloriosa, et immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, ejus Sponso, ac beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversione peccatorum, pro libertate et exaltatione sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi. Per eundum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.

Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.


   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

   Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee to we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mouring and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

   Let us pray.
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

   Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.

Complete Prayer to Saint Michael
    The following is the longer version of the vital prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 after his startling vision as to the future of the Church. This prayer was dedicated for the Feast of St. Michael 1448 years from the date of the election of the first Leo - Pope Saint Leo the Great. Everyone is familiar with the first prayer below which was mandated by His Holiness as part of the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. Below are both the short and longer versions of this poignant prayer which should never be forgotten.

    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

    V: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
    R: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
    V: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
    R: As we have hoped in Thee.
    V: O Lord hear my prayer.
    R: And let my cry come unto Thee.

    V: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls. Amen.

Prayer Before the Crucifix

   Look down upon me, O good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; the while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Thy five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me, calling to mind the words which David Thy prophet said of Thee, my good Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."

Indulgence of ten years; a plenary indulgence if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, Raccolta 201)

Anima Christi - Soul of Christ

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to Thee, that with
Thy saints I may praise Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

Indulgence of 300 days; if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, seven years Raccolta 131)

Prayer for Vocations

   O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst take to Thyself a body and soul like ours, to teach us the glory of self-sacrifice and service, mercifully deign to instill in other hearts the desire to dedicate their lives to Thee. Give us PRIESTS to stand before Thine Altar and to preach the words of Thy Gospel; BROTHERS to assist the priests and to reproduce in themselves Thy humility; SISTERS to teach the young and nurse the sick and to minister Thy charity to all; LAY PEOPLE to imitate Thee in their homes and families. Amen

11 posted on 01/12/2013 8:52:37 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
12 posted on 01/12/2013 8:53:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
13 posted on 01/12/2013 9:10:56 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Jesus, High Priest

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

14 posted on 01/12/2013 9:14:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]

15 posted on 01/12/2013 9:15:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

16 posted on 01/12/2013 9:16:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"



Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.

17 posted on 01/12/2013 9:19:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Feast of
the Holy Name of Jesus

Luke 2:21 "...Et vocatum est Nomen eius IESUS"
("And His Name was called JESUS")

Psalm 90:14 "Because he hoped in me I will deliver him:
I will protect him because he hath known My Name."

Zacharias 10:12 "I will strengthen them in the Lord,
and they shall walk in His Name, saith the Lord."

Apocalypse 3:8 "I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied My Name."

Apocalypse 15:4 "Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and magnify Thy Name?..."


Blessed be the most holy Name of Jesus without end!

January Devotion: The Holy Name of Jesus

The month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. This feast is also celebrated on January 3. Here is an explanation of the devotion.

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has associated entire months to special devotions. The devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus has been traditionally associated with the month of January, due to its celebration on January 3. The name Jesus was given to the Holy Child at God's command (Luke 1:31). The Holy Name is all-powerful because of the Person who bears it; we honor it because of the command of Christ, that we should pray in His Name and because it reminds us of all the blessings we receive through our Holy Redeemer. Hence St. Paul was able to write to the Philippians: ". . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Phil. 2:10). By means of this devotion we also make amends for improper use of the Holy Name.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Prayer/Hymn in Honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus - Iesu, Dulcis Memoria

Iesu, Dulcis Memoria is a celebrated 12th century hymn attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Doctor Mellifluus. The entire hymn has some 42 to 53 stanzas depending upon the manuscript. Parts of this hymn were used for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which was formerly celebrated on the Sunday between the Circumcision and Epiphany, or failing such a Sunday, on January 2. The part below was used at Vespers. In the liturgical revisions of Vatican II, the feast was deleted, though a votive Mass to the Holy Name of Jesus had been retained for devotional use. With the release of the revised Roman Missal in March 2002, the feast was restored as an optional memorial on January 3.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus' name,
The Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart!
0 joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus! our only hope be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

---Roman Breviary

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

O Divine Jesus, Thou hast promised that anything we ask of the Eternal Father in Thy name shall be granted.

O Eternal Father. In the name of Jesus, for the love of Jesus, in fulfillment of this promise, and because Jesus has said it, grant us our petitions for the sake of Jesus, Thy Divine Son. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Litany Of The Holy Name of Jesus
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
Jesus, The Name above all Names
Devotion to the Holy Name (of Jesus) [Catholic Caucus]
Lessons In Iconography : The Chi Rho - Christ
St. Francis de Sales on the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Excerpt from a Sermon) (Catholic Caucus)
St. Francis de Sales on the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

St. Bernard on the Most Holy Name of Jesus [Ecumenical]
Saving the day in His Holy Name: St. Genevieve gets a reprieve [Catholic Caucus]
The Holy Name of Jesus
Holy Name of Jesus [San Bernadino of Siena] Ecumenical
The Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the Holy Name [of Jesus]
The Name of Jesus: Its Power in Our Lives
The Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus
The Holy Name of Jesus

18 posted on 01/12/2013 9:21:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

JANUARY, 2013, Intentions of the Holy Father

The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.

Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.

19 posted on 01/12/2013 9:22:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Arlington Catholic Herald

Baptized into Christ
Fr. Jerome Magat

The baptism of Jesus reveals Our Lord’s identity as the Son of God. This is made known through the voice of God the Father and the appearance of the Holy Spirit in bodily form like a dove. We should marvel at the fact that Our Lord choose to be baptized even though He had no need of it. It’s not as if Our Lord suffered from the effects of original sin. In His humanity He was perfect and so He had no need to be cleansed and regenerated in the waters of baptism. So, one may ask, “Why did Our Lord choose to be baptized?”

St. Maximus of Turin, writing in the late fourth century tells us that Christ was baptized not to be made holy by the waters of baptism, but rather, to make holy the waters of baptism and to purify these waters with His body so that all who would be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit would be cleansed of original sin and be made adopted sons and daughters of the most high God. In doing so, Christ elevated baptism to the dignity of a sacrament.

As profound as this may be, it is not enough simply to admire the events of the baptism of the Lord from afar. The event has personal, serious and very practical implications for the baptized. As the first and most necessary sacrament for salvation, baptism washes the recipient free of original sin. At the same time, the soul is infused with sanctifying grace — a stable and enduring grace that makes one an adopted child of the Father and allows for the indwelling of the Trinity in the soul. In addition, the soul experiences an infusion of the theological virtues known as faith, hope and charity. These are called theological virtues because they are the virtues that adapt man’s faculties for participation in divine nature. They dispose believers to live in relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have God for their origin, motive and object. Hence, the capacity to believe in God; desire and trust in Him; and love Him comes through the infusion of these three theological virtues at baptism. Finally, every baptized person receives the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. These gifts are given in a potential state, waiting to be actualized. That is why parents undertake an immense responsibility when their child is baptized — they are charged with drawing out the gifts and the theological virtues that God has infused into that child’s soul. In sum, every grace that any person would need in order to become a saint is received at baptism. Receiving this sacrament orients its recipient toward Christ and incorporates them into the church.

Over the centuries, many saints have asserted that the largest crisis in the church and society in general is a crisis of baptism. It is not that there are not enough baptized persons. Rather, there is a lack of persons committed to living out their baptismal dignity and actualizing their baptismal potential. This has been the challenge of every generation of baptized Christians. The need for believers to live in accordance with the great gift they have received has never been more urgent.

Fr. Magat is parochial vicar of St. William of York Parish in Stafford

20 posted on 01/12/2013 9:36:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Work of God

 You  are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year C

 -  The Baptism of the Lord

You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased

You  are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Luke 3:15-16 21-22

15 And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ;
16 John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier that I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
21 Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven: You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Baptism of the Lord - You  are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased I descended from Heaven with the special mission of redeeming the human race. This would involve first of all the cleansing of souls by repentance and then the commitment from all those who follow me through baptism.

The Holy Trinity was present in the solemn event of my Baptism. My Father spoke lovingly from Heaven confirming that His favour rests on me. I sanctified the waters of baptism, opening the way for the purification of souls. The Holy Spirit descended upon me to fill me and to strengthen me for my work on earth.

I set an example for all to follow, in fact Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the Christian Life. Those who believe in my teachings and are baptised will be saved. In baptism I fill the soul with the fire of my Holy Spirit, I make the soul a part of my mystical body, I grant my sanctifying grace to the spirit of the baptised so that his conscience will carry the light that I came to give to the world.

In baptism you are clothed with my grace, my light and my protection, in other words you are clothed with Christ. My light is that power that the soul needs to grow, to thrive and to acquire the merits of my salvation.

For those who repent and desire to be purified with the waters of salvation, I grant the fire of the Holy Spirit to increase their faith and to make them see with the eyes of the spirit, a heavenly gift that is hidden to those who prefer the world. I baptise with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

When a child is baptised, he carries the seeds of my love within him, he becomes my son, my beloved and my favour rests on him. I send my Holy Spirit to guide him through life and my sanctifying grace to lead him; he has very intimate encounters with me in the practice of his faith and in the Sacraments of the Church.

When and adult is baptised, he experiences my love and my mercy, I forgive all his sins and he is clothed in my light. Even though he is old, he is born again into life.

There is only one baptism; this is the firm ground on which the other sacraments rest for the sanctification of the soul.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

21 posted on 01/12/2013 9:48:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Jesus does not go into the Water alone. He takes us with Him. A reflection on the Baptism of the Lord

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a moment to reflect not only on the Lord’s baptism, but also on our own. For in an extended sense, when Christ is baptized, so are we, for we are members of his body. As Christ enters the water, he makes holy the water that will baptize us. He enters the water and we follow. And in these waters he acquires gifts to give us, as we shall see below.

Let’s examine this text in three stages:

1. The Fraternity of Baptism – The text says After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized”

Luke puts the fact of Jesus’ baptism in the middle of a sentence. Perhaps he mentions it in passing because he, like many of us  is puzzled about Jesus requesting baptism.  Why? John’s baptism of repentance presumes the presence of sin. But the scriptures are clear, Jesus had no sin.

  1. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:15 ).
  2. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin (1 John 3:5 ).

Jesus identifies with sinners, even if he never sinned. As he comes to the riverside he has no ego concerns. He is not embarrassed or ashamed that some might think him a sinner even though he was not. It is a remarkable humiliation he accepts to be found in the company of sinners like us, and even to be seen as one of us. He freely enters the waters and, to any outsider who knew him not, he would simply be numbered among the sinners, which he was not.

Consider how amazing this is. The Scripture says He is not ashamed to call us his Brethren (Heb 2:11). It also says God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21).

Jesus ate with sinners to the scandal of many of the religious leaders: -This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!” (Lk 15:2). Jesus was known as a friend of sinners, had pity on the woman caught in adultery, allowed a sinful woman to touch him and anoint his feet. He cast out demons and fought for sinners. He suffered and died for sinners in the way reserved for the worst criminals. He was crucified between two thieves and He was assigned a grave among the wicked (Is 53).

Praise God, Jesus is not ashamed to be found in our presence and to share a brotherhood with us. There is a great shedding of his glory in doing this. Again, Scripture says, [Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself (Phil 1:3)

2. The Foreshadowing of our Baptism – In accepting Baptism, Jesus does not enter the water alone. He takes us with him, for we are members of His Body. He the Head of the Body, goes where the members will follow. St. Maximus says:

I understand the mystery as this. The column of fire went before the sons of Israel through the Red Sea so that they could follow on their brave journey; the column went first through the waters to prepare a path for those who followed……But Christ the Lord does all these things: in the column of fire He went through the sea before the sons of Israel; so now in the column of his body he goes through baptism before the Christian people….At the time of the Exodus the column…made a pathway through the waters; now it strengthens the footsteps of faith in the bath of baptism. (de sancta Epiphania 1.3)

So what God promised in the in the Old Testament by way of prefigurement he now fulfills in Christ. They were delivered from the slavery of Egypt as the column led them through the waters. But more wonderfully, we are delivered from the slavery to sin as the column of Christ’s body leads us through the waters of baptism. God’s righteousness is his fidelity to his promises. Hence Jesus says, in his baptism and all it signifies (his death and resurrection) he has come to fulfill all righteous and he thus fulfills the promises made by God at the Red Sea and throughout the Old Testament.

3. The Four Gifts of Baptism - The Text says, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.

Eph 5:30 says we are members of Christ’s body. Thus when Jesus goes into the water we go with him. And in going there he acquires four gifts on our behalf as this text sets them forth. Lets look at the four gifts he acquires on our behalf:

  1. Access - the heavens are opened . The heavens and paradise had been closed to us after Original Sin. But now, at Jesus’ baptism, the text says the heavens are opened. Jesus acquires this gift for us. So, at our baptism, the heavens open for us and we have access to the Father and to the heavenly places. Scripture says: Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, (Romans 5:1) It also says, For through Jesus we have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph 2:17). Hence the heavens are opened also at our own Baptism and we have access to the Father.
  2. Anointing - the Spirit of God descends on him like a dove – Here too, Jesus acquires the Gift of the Holy Spirit for us. In Baptism we are not just washed of sins, but we also become temples of the Holy Spirit. After baptism there is the anointing with chrism which signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit. For adults this is Confirmation. But even for infants, there is an anointing at baptism to recognize that the Spirit of God dwells in the baptized as in a temple. Scripture says, Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16)
  3. AcknowledgmentYou are my beloved Son. Jesus receives this acknowledgment from his Father for the faith of those who heard, but also to acquire this gift for us. In our own Baptism we become the children of God. Since we become members of Christ’s body, we now have the status of sons of God. On the day of your Baptism the heavenly Father acknowledged you as his own dear Child. Scripture says: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Gal 3:26)
  4. ApprovalWith you I am pleased . Jesus had always pleased his Father. But now he acquires this gift for you as well. Our own Baptism gives us sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace is the grace to be holy and pleasing to God. Scripture says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Eph 1:1-3)

Thus, at his Baptism, Christ acquired these gifts for us so that our own Baptism we could receive them. Consider well the glorious gift of your Baptism. Perhaps you know the exact day. It should be a day as highly celebrated as your birthday. Christ is baptized for our sakes, not his own. All these gifts had always been his. Now, in his baptism he fulfills God’s righteousness by going into the water to get them for you. It’s alright to say, “Hallelujah!”

22 posted on 01/12/2013 9:53:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Sunday Gospel Reflections

Baptism of the Lord
II: Acts 10:34-38

Luke 3:15-16,21-22

15 As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ,
16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,
22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."

Interesting Details

  • (v.15) John's mission as Jesus' forerunner was so powerful that the people at that time began to believe that he was the promised Messiah they had expected for generations.
  • (v.16) John pointed out that his baptism used water to get rid of sins, but there will be one whose baptism will be with the power of the Holy Spirit, which is more than just an act of cleansing. This was a very important announcement of the coming of Jesus with His mission as the Savior.
  • (v.21) Jesus went right in to be baptized like one of the people before Him; He was praying and the Heaven was open. An extraordinary event was happening here: Jesus has just reached the boundary which had been set by sins, and His prayer has re-established the connection between Heaven and Earth.
  • (v.22) The Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove, which is a symbol of love, life, and union with God.
  • The Father was pleased with what Jesus has just done; His beloved son has restored the relationship between God and His people, enabling each human being to come back to the loving Father.

One Main Point

Jesus has come to restore the relationship between the humanity and God which had long been divided by the boundaries set by sins. He has baptized us with the Holy Spirit to enable us to cross these boundaries and come back to God.


  1. Once baptized by Jesus through the Church, my relationship with God has been restored. However, I still have the freedom to choose between God's way and my own. Which one am I choosing?
  2. Realizing that I have been baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit, how am I going to cross the barriers set up by sins to come back to God who has been loving and waiting for me?

23 posted on 01/12/2013 9:58:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday, January 13, 2013
The Baptism of the Lord (Feast)
First Reading:
Second Reading:
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 29:1-4, 3, 9-10
Acts 10: 34-38
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he desires and works with all his strength to inflame all men with the fire of God's love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty; he labours strenuously; he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labours, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

-- St Anthony Mary Claret

24 posted on 01/12/2013 10:01:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

25 posted on 01/12/2013 10:03:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.


26 posted on 01/12/2013 10:05:53 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

NPR Anchor Compares Catholic League To The Ku Klux Klan…

27 posted on 01/13/2013 7:23:02 AM PST by KeyLargo
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Saint Hilary, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

Saint Hilary,
Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Optional Memorial
January 13th

Anonymous illumination, St. Hilary writing his commentary on Matthew

Saint Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) was a leading defender of the Church against the Arian heresy. He wrote twelve books about the Holy Trinity as well as commentaries on St. Matthew's Gospel and the Psalms.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we may rightly understand and truthfully profess
the divinity of your Son,
which the Bishop Saint Hilary taught with such constancy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: 1 John 2:18-25
Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He has promised us, eternal life.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-19
"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Related Link on Vatican Website: Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, October 10, 2007, Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Related Links on New Advent Website:
St. Hilary ..

- On the Councils, or the Faith of the Easterns
- On the Trinity
- Homilies on the Psalms

28 posted on 01/13/2013 9:52:53 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Saint's Days are always superseded by the Sunday liturgy. Nevertheless......

The Father's Gift In Christ [by Saint Hilary of Poitiers, bishop]
The Life and Writings of Saint Hilary of Poitiers[Bishop and Martyr]
St. Hilary of Poitiers

29 posted on 01/13/2013 10:08:44 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Hilary of Poitiers
Feast Day: January 13

300, Poitiers

Died: 368, Poitiers

30 posted on 01/13/2013 10:09:34 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Hillary of Poitiers

Feast Day: January 13
Born:315 :: Died:368

In the early centuries of Christianity, there were still many people who did not believe in God as we do. They believed that there were many gods, some more powerful than others. These people were not bad. They just did not know any better. They were called pagans.

St. Hilary was born into just such a family in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education. He married and raised a family.

Through his studies, Hilary learned that a person should practice patience, kindness, justice and these good acts would be rewarded in the life after death.

Hilary's studies also made him realize that there could only be one God who is eternal, all-powerful and good. He read the Bible for the first time. When he came to the story of Moses and the burning bush, Hilary was very impressed by the name God gave himself: I AM WHO AM.

Hilary read the writings of the prophets, too. Then he read the whole New Testament. By the time he finished, he was completely converted to Christianity and was baptized.

Hilary was such a good Catholic that he was made bishop. This did not make his life easy because the emperor was interfering in Church matters. When Hilary refused to do wrong as the emperor commanded him, he was sent away from the country.

Hilary did not let this worry him, instead with great courage and patience he accepted the emperor's punishment calmly and used the time to write books explaining the faith to the pagans.

Since he was becoming famous and many pagans were converting to Christianity, Hilary's enemies asked the emperor to send him back to his hometown. There he would not be able to create too much trouble.

So Hilary returned to Poitiers in 360. He continued writing and teaching the people about the faith. Hilary died eight years later, at the age of fifty-two. His books are used by the Church even today. That is why he is called a Doctor of the Church.

31 posted on 01/13/2013 10:14:07 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday, January 13

Liturgical Color: Green

St. Colette, founder of the Colettine Poor Clares, was born on this day in 1381. At the age of 25 she had a vision telling her to reform the Poor Clares. In her lifetime, she founded 17 new Poor Clare convents and reformed several more.

32 posted on 01/13/2013 12:47:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: January 13, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Christmas: January 13th

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Old Calendar: Feast of the Holy Family

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. This brings to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.

In the Eastern Church this feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan God appeared in three persons. The baptism of John was a sort of sacramental preparatory for the Baptism of Christ. It moved men to sentiments of repentance and induced them to confess their sins. Christ did not need the baptism of John. Although He appeared in the "substance of our flesh" and was recognized "outwardly like unto ourselves", He was absolutely sinless and impeccable. He conferred upon the water the power of the true Baptism which would remove all the sins of the world: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sin of the world".

Many of the incidents which accompanied Christ's baptism are symbolical of what happened at our Baptism. At Christ's baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism the Trinity took its abode in our soul. At His baptism Christ was proclaimed the "Beloved Son" of the Father; at our Baptism we become the adopted sons of God. At Christ's baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. At His baptism Jesus prayed; after our Baptism we must pray to avoid actual sin.

— Excerpted from Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Customs on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
In the Ukraine the faithful gather in the front of the church where a cross of ice is placed. Since there are no rivers near churches, a tub is filled with water and is placed in front of the ice cross. During special and very unique services the water is blessed and brought home. This is taken in before breakfast is eaten. The remains are kept during the year to keep the home safe from fire, lightening and sickness.

The priest visits his parishioners to bless their homes with the holy water that the New Year may be one of cooperation with the gift of God; His Son and the participation in the Life He has come to lead us in toward Salvation. The evening meal is very much a repeat of the Holy Supper except that there are no restrictions on meat and dairy products. It starts with Kutia, which has been saved from Christmas Eve.

The Twentieth Day of Christmas

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
The mystery of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan by St John, the Precursor, proposes the contemplation of an already adult Jesus. This mystery is infinitely linked to the Solemnities of the Lord’s birth and the Epiphany that we have just celebrated, as in some ways it takes up and represents their significance to us.

At Christmas we have contemplated the human birth of the Word incarnate by the Virgin Mary. In the 4th century, the Fathers of the Church deepened the understanding of the faith with regard to the Christmas mystery in the light of Jesus’ Humanity. They spoke of the Incarnation of the Word already working like the ‘Christification’ of that humanity that he had assumed from His mother. Or put in simpler terms: Jesus is the Christ from the first instant of conception in Mary’s spotless womb because He Himself, with His Divine Power, consecrated, anointed and ‘Christified’ that human nature with which He became incarnate.

In the mystery of the Epiphany, we then meditated on Christ’s manifestation to all nations that was represented by the Magi, the wise men from the East, who came to adore the Child.

Now, in the mystery of Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River, we again encounter and represent the truth of the Lord’s incarnation and His manifestation as the Christ. Jesus’ Baptism is in fact His definitive manifestation as the Messiah or Christ to Israel, and as the Son of the Father to the entire world. Here we find the dimension of the Epiphany which was His manifestation to all nations. The Father’s voice from heaven shows that Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal Son and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove shows the Trinitarian nature of the Christian God. The true and unique God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shows Himself in Christ, through Him, with Him and in Him.

The Baptism in the Jordan returns to the great Christmas theme of ‘Christification’, Jesus of Nazareth’s spiritual anointing, His presentation as the Anointed One per excellence, the Messiah or the One sent by the Father for the salvation of mankind. The Spirit that descended on Jesus shows and seals in an incontrovertible way the ‘Christification’ of Jesus’ humanity that the Word had already fulfilled from the first moment of His miraculous conception by Mary. Jesus, from the very beginning, was always the Lord’s Christ, He was always God. Yet, His one, true humanity, that which is perfect in every way, as the Gospel records, constantly grew in natural and supernatural perfection. ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with men’ (Lk2:52). In Israel at 30 years of age, one reached full maturity and therefore could become a master. Jesus came of age and the Spirit, descending and remaining on Him, definitively consecrated His whole being as the Christ.

The same Spirit, that descended on the water of the River Jordan wafted over the waters during the first creation. (Gen 1:2) Therefore, the Baptism in the Jordan presents yet another truth: that Jesus has started a new creation. He is the second man (1 Cor 15:47) or the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45), that comes to repair the first Adam’s guilt. He does this as the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. ‘Looking at the events in light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people realised what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon His shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners.’ (J Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, Bloomsbury 2007, p18)

Excerpted from the Congregation for the Clergy

33 posted on 01/13/2013 1:25:28 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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January 13, Feast of the Baptism of Christ

Today we celebrate the baptism of Christ in the Jordan. This is the second epiphany, or manifestation, of the Lord. The past, the present, and the future are made manifest in this epiphany.

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.

34 posted on 01/13/2013 1:28:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint Hilary is the Doctor of Christ's Divinity. He was one of the Early Church Doctors and defended Jesus Christ as the Word of God. He is called the Doctor of Christ’s Divinity.

As bishop, he brilliantly defended the sacred humanity of Jesus. He was the only married Doctor of the Church and can readily identify with married couples. Hilary would wholeheartedly endorse the Retrouvaille program, listed in the link below, and all organizations and groups that keep couples together, strengthens them, bonds and unites them, and empowers them individually with their families, relatives, friends, associates and those they interact or communicate with regularly.

The church has many saints and blessed who were not priests, clergy or in a religious order and many are contained in the link below and the name of the book is Secular Saints and these include both married couples and individuals.

The Doctors And Secular Saints

Certainly, the Retrouvaille program is one the best programs to join for married couples and others should they experience difficulties, challenges, and serious problems in their marriages and are searching for unity and the solution with God’s grace. See link below.


Saint Hilary protected the church and its members by defeating Arianism which denied the divinity of Christ.

For those Christians who can not identify with Christ as God but think it is possible, don't be afraid to approach Hilary. If you feel reluctant to talk with anyone who has died for any reason, just imagine that Hilary is truly listening to you by God's power. If you are a non-believer, don't be afraid to investigate Hilary, for when he lived on earth, he too was a non-believer at one time. He was all these and more.

One of his titles was "The Athanasius of the West" after the great Eastern Doctor and The Father of Orthodoxy, St Athanasius.

Hilary was criticized, slandered, and banished from his country. By refusing to obey the Emperor, he was exiled. He boldly and bravely defended Jesus Christ in his fullness, both sacred humanity and eternal divinity.

Saint Hilary clung to his faith when most yielded to worldly, authoritative powers and influences. He surrendered to God, lived his faith, faithfully, and would not be intimidated.

We can learn a lot from his life summary below and through the many links herein.


St Hilary, 315-368. Doctor of Christ's Divinity. Feast, Jan 13th.

35 posted on 01/13/2013 1:42:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The Baptism of the Lord

You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22)

Last year, before the London summer Olympics, the 1981 film Chariots of Fire was rereleased for the big screen. It’s a stirring true story about British runners at the 1924 Olympics—one of them, the Scottish sprinter Eric Liddell. The movie accurately depicts Liddell as a devout Christian. And though it shows him explaining his athletic motivation in words he probably never spoke—“When I run, I feel his pleasure”—the line is a window into how Liddell related to God in real life.

When I run, I feel his pleasure. Think about that statement for a minute. Are there times when you experience God’s delight in you? How would you fill in this blank? “I feel God’s pleasure when I _______________.”

Do you rest secure in the knowledge that your Father loves and affirms you? Or do you feel overlooked or rejected by a God who finds you wanting? If you oscillate between these two poles, as many of us do, you’ll find an important message in Jesus’ baptism.

Why, do you think, did the sinless Son of God embrace a baptism of repentance? One simple answer is this: so that each of us could hear our Father say, “You are my beloved child. With you I am well pleased”! This isn’t wishful thinking. When you were baptized, you were united to Jesus and drawn into his relationship with the Father. That means that as you seek it out, you really can experience the Father’s love for you!

Do you believe that God rejoices in you? If you’re not living in that reality, ask him for whatever you need to restore that baptismal flow of love—insight, healing, a spirit of repentance. Then, not only when you’re running, praying, or working, but at all times, you can rejoice in your identity as a beloved child who makes your Father smile.

“Jesus, with a thankful heart, I stand with you in the Jordan today. Let nothing separate me from you. Father, show me your love!”

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10; Acts 10:34-38


Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

1. The first reading is one of several prophecies about Jesus in the book of Isaiah. How has Jesus fulfilled the prophecy described in the first reading?

2. In the Responsorial Psalm, we are invited to give to the Lord “glory and praise” (Psalm 29:1). What are some reasons from your own life that lead you to give the Lord glory and praise?

3. In the second reading, through his visit to Cornelius’ home, God broke through Peter’s misconceptions and prejudices towards non-Jews to reveal to him that the gift of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was not for the Jewish people alone (as he had previously believed), but also for Gentiles as well. In the Church we see some of this in reverse now, that is, there are misconceptions and prejudices towards Jewish people. What are some of these prejudices? What steps you can take as Catholics to help eradicate these prejudices and promote mutual understanding between Christians and Jews?

4. In the Gospel, God the Father speaks these words to Jesus: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Spend a few minutes in prayer and reflection and allow God the Father to speak these same words to you: “You are my beloved son/daughter); with you I am well pleased.” What was your experience during this quiet time of reflection?

5. The meditation poses three profound questions: 1) “Are there times when you experience God’s delight in you?”, 2) “Why, do you think, did the sinless Son of God embrace a baptism of repentance?” and 3) “Do you believe that God rejoices in you?” How would you answer these questions?

6. The meditation also states that “When you were baptized, you were united to Jesus and drawn into his relationship with the Father. That means that as you seek it out, you really can experience the Father’s love for you!” Do you believe this? Why or why not?

7. Take some time now to pray and ask God the Father for a deeper knowledge and experience of his great love for you as his beloved son/daughter. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

36 posted on 01/13/2013 1:50:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Christian Pilgrim


(A biblical refection on THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD – Sunday, 13 January 2013)

Gospel Reading: Luke 3:15-16,21-22 

First Reading: Is 40:1-5,9-11; Psalms: Ps 104:1-4,24-25,27-30; Second Reading: Tit 2:11-14;3:4-7 


The Scripture Text

As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but He who is mightier that I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art My beloved Son; with Thee I am well pleased.” (Lk 3:15-16,21-22) 

Jesus taught His disciples from pure, divine knowledge filtered through gritty, human experience. He could speak of forgiving others because He had learned to forgive His enemies. He could say that giving was better than receiving because He had given Himself completely and received with great measure from the Father. He could speak about the power of the Holy Spirit to change people’s lives because, as a man, He Himself had been filled with the Holy Spirit.

At Jesus’ baptism “the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, as a dove” (Lk 3:22). This anointing began a new stage in Jesus’ life. His public ministry included an outward display of miracles, an ability to preach with authority, victory over demons, and more. There could be no doubt about it: Something very dramatic was introduced into the world on that day, and Jesus Himself knew it (see Lk 4:18).

Do you know, my dear sisters and brothers, what happened to you when you were baptized? Like Jesus, your baptism included power for ministry, with an added and amazing bonus. When you were baptized, you (or your godparents) did not just give your life to God. God gave His eternal life to you!

Along with the power to move the Gospel out into the world, you have received a fundamental interior change. The same Spirit that flowed in Jesus now flows in each of us, giving us all a share in His divine nature. It is this participation in His life that enables us to be His instruments in the world. Take time today to read these passages on baptism: Acts 2:38-39; 2Cor 1:21-22; Tit 3:4-7; and Pet 1:3-4. Ponder these passages and let God awaken your imagination and fill you with great expectation for all that you can become in Christ.

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am really amazed at what You have given me in Christ. Open the eyes of my heart to see the spiritual blessings that are mine. Expand my understanding so that I may grasp all that is mine through baptism. Amen.

37 posted on 01/13/2013 1:57:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim


(A biblical refection on THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD – Sunday, 13 January 2013)

First Reading: Is 40:1-5,9-11; Psalms: Ps 104:1-4,24-25,27-30; Second Reading: Tit 2:11-14;3:4-7; Gospel Reading: Luke 3:15-16,21-22  


THIRTY quiet years had passed. Now it was time to go to work. His first step was to seek out His cousin John, daily growing in popularity because of his famous Jordan River baptisms. Jesus all received the “baptism of repentance,” not because He was a sinner but to identify Himself and His imminent mission with and for sinful community. 

Tradition says that this took place on the west side of the Jordan, approximately four and one half miles north of the Dead Sea. As the cool river water flowed over His head and body, and He heard the voice from heaven, Jesus knew He was now a public figure. He was moving swiftly toward center stage, from where He would never retreat. John likewise would change, for his public stature would soon be dwarfed by the increasing popularity of Jesus. 

Immediately afterward, the Lord hurried into the mountains near Jericho to finalize His plans, pray to His Father and be tested by the forces of evil. Then, He began His three year non-stop mission of preaching, curing, counseling, building for the future and dying for the liberation of humanity. Yet the first public step had been baptism, and He saw His entire mission as its fulfillment. “I have a baptism to receive and what anguish I feel until it is over” (Lk 12:50). 

That same Spirit-filled water at one time flowed over our heads. Regardless of our ages, it was our first step in faith. Even though most of us do not remember the event, it charted our course toward Christ. 

The Church continually tries to impress on us the dignity of this sacrament of initiation. Parents requesting baptism for their children are expected to faithfully attend Mass as a sign of their Christian sincerity. Adults asking for this beginning sacrament must first devote much time so prayer and study. 

Baptism is the foundation of the sacramental system. It is so basic to our spiritual life that it is a kind of second birthday. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus as being born again (Jn 3:3). 

Do you know when and where you where baptized? If not, why not find out and celebrate it as your birthday in faith? You might attend Mass that day, say a rosary, make a holy hour, or reread the baptismal promises and meditate on their meaning. 

“This is my beloved, in whom I am well pleased,” can be applied to anyone who lives his or her baptismal promises faithfully throughout life. 

Note: Taken from Fr. James McKarns, GO TELL EVERYONE, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1985, pages 203-204.

38 posted on 01/13/2013 1:58:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for January 13, 2013:

Today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Baptism includes symbols such as water, candles, and white robes that point to a deeper commitment of faith. Ask your beloved what the key element of faith is for him/her.

39 posted on 01/13/2013 2:02:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Sunday Scripture Study

The Baptism of the Lord - Cycle C

January 13, 2013

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

Psalm: 29:1-4, 9-10

Second Reading: Acts 10:34-38

Gospel Reading: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

  • The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. We are now in the “C” cycle of readings, which means that for the remainder of this year (until next Advent season) our Sunday Gospels will be taken mostly from the Gospel of Luke.
  • In this Sunday’s Gospel, we meet John the Baptist, who was sent as a
precursor (or herald) of the Messiah, but who had developed a popular following by those who wondered if he might be the long anticipated Jewish Messiah. John, however, makes it clear he is not (see John 1:6-8, 19-28 and John 3:25-30)
  • (Verses 17-20, omitted from this Sunday’s reading, describe John’s anticipatory ministry as one of calling the people to repentance by readying themselves for the coming of the Messiah, and also describe how John’s ministry came to an end.
  • When Jesus is baptized by John at the beginning of his public life, Jesus’ divinity is revealed and he is anointed for his mission in visible and audible signs.



  • Why do the people confuse John with Christ (verse 15; John 1:19-28)? By contrast, how does John differentiate himself and his ministry? How can you emulate John’s attitude in verse 16?
  • Why was it necessary for Jesus to be baptized (Matthew 3:13-15; Mark 10:35-39; Luke 12:49- 50; CCC 536)?
  • Why did God choose this time to announce the presence of his Son (Luke 3:16-18; Acts 10:38)? Why was it necessary for that announcement to be audible (John 11:41-42)? How was this announcement pre-announced in the Old Testament (see First Reading)? How was it remembered later in the early Church (see Second Reading)?
  • How significant is it that Jesus is praying right after his baptism and before the Spirit alights on him (verse 21. See New American Bible note on verses 21-22 and CCC 2600)?
  • Do you remember to pray at important times in your life?

Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 536, 694, 696, 701, 2600


Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.  -St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

40 posted on 01/13/2013 2:05:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pastor's Column:

Year of Faith: Indulgences and Places of Pilgrimage [Ecumenical]

41 posted on 01/13/2013 2:08:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Paul Center Blog

The Anointing: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Baptism of the Lord

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn on 01.11.13 |

Baptism of Christ

Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7
Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10
Acts 10:34-38
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The Liturgy last week revealed the mystery of God’s plan - that in Jesus all peoples, symbolized by the Magi, have been made “co-heirs” to the blessings promised Israel. This week, we’re shown how we claim our inheritance.

Jesus doesn’t submit to John’s baptism as a sinner in need of purification. He humbles Himself to pass through Jordan’s waters in order to lead a new “exodus” - opening up the promised land of heaven so that all peoples can hear the words pronounced over Jesus today, words once reserved only for Israel and its king: that each of us is a beloved son or daughter of God (see Genesis 22:2; Exodus 4:22; Psalm 2:7).

Jesus is the chosen servant Isaiah prophesies in today’s First Reading, anointed with the Spirit to make things right and just on earth. God puts His Spirit upon Jesus to make Him “a covenant of the people,” the liberator of the captives, the light to the nations. Jesus, today’s Second Reading tells us, is the One long expected in Israel, “anointed…with the Holy Spirit and power.”

The word Messiah means “one anointed” with God’s Spirit. King David was “the anointed of the God of Jacob” (see 2 Samuel 23:1-17; Psalm 18:51; 132:10,17). The prophets taught Israel to await a royal offshoot of David, upon whom the Spirit would rest (see Isaiah 11:1-2; Daniel 9:25).

That’s why the crowds are so anxious at the start of today’s Gospel. But it isn’t John they’re looking for. God confirms with His own voice what the Angel earlier told Mary - Jesus is the Son of the Most High, come to claim the throne of David forever (see Luke 1:32-33).

In the Baptism that He brings, the voice of God will hover over the waters as fiery flame, as we sing in today’s Psalm. He has sanctified the waters, made them a passage-way to healing and freedom - a fountain of new birth and everlasting life.

42 posted on 01/13/2013 2:22:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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James Tissot: Baptism of the Lord
Is 4: 1-4; 6-7
Acts 10: 34-38
Lk 3: 15 – 16, 21-22

The wonder of human birth is just that, an amazing wonder.  I have often heard parents refer to the birth of their child as a miracle. From my own family experience in the birth of my nephews and niece I would readily agree.  Of all the possible things that could go wrong, the very fact that so many children are born whole, intact, and healthy is indeed miraculous.  Yet, even with the advantage of proper health care, our hearts indeed reach out to those parents whose children are born less than perfect but are loved deeply nonetheless.

In the birth process, in addition to proper nourishment, there is probably nothing more important than the place of water in the mother’s womb. We grow in water, we are born in water, and we must be properly hydrated in order to live well. Water is life.

This Sunday’s celebration of the Baptism of the Lord brings the symbol of water right to the front. But it is more than just a ritual cleansing, which John himself referred to: “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire . . .” (Lk 3: 15 – 16).

John’s baptism would be incomplete from our Christian perspective. While he never claimed to offer the Holy Spirit to those who sought him out he did remind people of the cleansing power of his action.  John’s baptism was one of repentance and conversion.  He called people to prepare for the Lord to come who would offer far more – the Holy Spirit who would bring us the living flame of faith.  All these wonderful poetic/biblical images are important for us.  How Catholic they are and we see them in our sacraments: water, flame, oil, and in the Eucharist bread and wine.  

This powerful moment in the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus reminds us that our Christian faith is not just a set of values and morals.  It is not just about being nice and good to one another.  Rather it is centered on the existence of a person. We can have hope and confidence because Jesus is the anointed one. As we hear in the Gospel today: “. . . a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased’”(Lk 3: 22). This sign of divine paternity, the voice from heaven, was essential for the first readers of Luke’s Gospel as it remains for us. This identified Son of the Father walked into this world by mysterious means but for a benevolent purpose to reveal a great truth to us.

That truth we hear from St. Peter in the second reading from Acts: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality . . .” God is beyond politics, race, gender, language, culture or geography. More simply put, God is love and invites us into a relationship of love with him and one another that begins in another birth through water.

The Preface for Mass on this Sunday describes this image so well: “. . . in the waters of the Jordan you revealed with signs and wonders a new Baptism so that through the voice that came down from heaven we might come to believe in your Word dwelling among us and by the Spirit’s descending in the likeness of a dove we might know that Christ your Servant has been anointed . . . to bring the good news . . .” (Roman Missal)

This servant is of course Christ Jesus in whom we put our hope and confidence, the voice is that of God the Father from heaven who identified this Jesus as his own son and the Holy Spirit’s appearance reveals Jesus’ mission as the anointed one (Messiah) to bring the good news of God’s love to all humanity.  The mission of Christ is the work of the entire Trinity in whose name we are baptized.    

In the ritual of baptism we are marked with the sign of the cross and identified as dedicated for all time to God as his son or daughter. We too are anointed with oil (chrism) and sent on mission to pass on to others the Gospel we have received. To be called, chosen, signed, washed, and sent forth is the privilege we share in. The Trinitarian mission of Christ is thereby the mission of every disciple according to our vocations.  

Every married couple is called to share in this mission, particularly with children they bring into the world. To form them in the Gospel as they promise at the baptism of each child. Every ordained minister is called to act in the person of Christ and to be faithful to what the Church teaches as he shepherds others in the ways of faith.  Single folks have the luxury of more freedom than perhaps a married couple does and so they too have the responsibility to use that freedom wisely in works of charity and faithfulness to the Church.

Vatican II put it well in the universal call to holiness of each baptized member. The old concept of “pay, pray and obey” was replaced by the Church as the “People of God” in the key Document on the Church: Lumen Gentium. It recognized that because of baptism we share in the mission of Christ as priest, prophet and king.

While the explosion of ministries is a valid sign of the Holy Spirit’s work among us, we may yet have a ways to go to understand what personal holiness really means. Our present culture does little to support us in our faith journey. In fact it works against it as it seemingly challenges any public expression of faith.  So we must turn always to the community of the People of God, even with our sin and limitations, to create a culture where holiness is possible and recognized. Not isolated from the world around us but energized in our call to transform society.  Not an easy task.

God in his goodness sustains us with the power of his Word and the food of the Eucharist, his very self.  Let us pray as we journey that God will be able to say to us, “You are my beloved son/daughter with you I am well pleased.”  
Fr. Tim

43 posted on 01/13/2013 2:48:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Insight Scoop

Church Fathers answer the question, "Why did Jesus insist on being baptized?"

A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for January 13, 2013, the Baptism of the Lord | Carl E. Olson

• Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or Is 40:1-5, 9-11
• Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 or Ps 104:1b-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30
• Acts 10:34-38 or Or Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7
• Lk 3:15-16, 21-22

If baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, why did Jesus insist on being baptized by his cousin, John? And if baptism, as St. Peter wrote, “now saves you … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21), why would the Messiah deem it appropriate, even necessary, to be baptized? What, was the point of the Lord’s baptism in the Jordan River?

These and related questions fascinated and perplexed many of the early Church fathers and theologians. The baptism of Christ, writes Fr. Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B., in his study of the topic, The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan: The Trinitarian and Cosmic Order of Salvation (The Liturgical Press, 1996), “was widely discussed in all the currents of theological reflection” in the early Church, “without doubt partly because of the problems it posed.” From this discussion emerged many helpful theological insights.

St. Justin Martyr (d. 165), one of the first great apologists, addressed the baptism in his Dialogue with Trypho. He emphasized that the Son had no need to be baptized—just as he had no need to be born, to suffer, or die—but did so in order to reveal himself to mankind; the baptism, in other words, was the messianic manifestation, a sign for the Church first, and then the world. When Jesus came to the waters, St. Justin wrote, “He was deemed a carpenter,” but the proclamation of the Father and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove showed him to be far more than a mere worker of wood.

In his famous work, Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus (d. c. 202) focused on the participation of those who believe in Christ in the anointing of the Savior. The connection between the baptism and anointing—itself an essential Messianic concept—is already evident in the New Testament, as heard in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles: “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” This same anointing, St. Irenaeus wrote, is given to those who are baptized into Christ. The Holy Spirit, having descended upon the Son, has become “accustomed in fellowship with Him to dwell in the human race, to rest with human beings, and to dwell in the workmanship of God, working the will of the Father in them, and renewing them from their old habits into the newness of Christ.”

Others delved into the mystery and meaning of the Jordan River, which was already, at the time of Christ, the site of many key events in the history of Israel. St. Hippolytus (d. c. 236) referred to “the Grand Jordan”; Origen (d. 254) wrote that just as “no one is good, except the one only God, the Father,” likewise “no river is good except the Jordan.” St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. c. 394), in his treatise, On the Baptism of Jesus, wrote, “For Jordan alone of rivers, receiving in itself the first-fruits of sanctification and benediction, conveyed in its channel to the whole world, as it were from some fount in the type afforded by itself, the grace of Baptism.” Just as Joshua had entered the Promised Land by crossing the Jordan, Jesus opened the way to heaven by entering and dividing the same waters.

St. Ephrem (d. 373) wrote a beautiful hymn in which he connected the baptism of Jesus with the womb of Mary and the sacrament of the Eucharist: “See, Fire and Spirit in the womb that bore you! See, Fire and Spirit in the river where you were baptized! Fire and Spirit in our Baptism; in the Bread and the Cup, Fire and Holy Spirit!” Christ, the Light of the World, dwelt first in the womb of the Virgin—who was thus “baptized” by her Son—and then in the womb of the Jordan; he emerged from both as the Incarnate Word, the Savior of mankind. Those who are baptized thus become the children of Mary and partakers of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of her Son.

(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the January 10, 2010, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)

44 posted on 01/13/2013 3:07:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

Strength in Humility
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Father Shawn Aaron, LC 

Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Introductory Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, you are high above us in the heavens, and yet you are so near to me. I know that you love me infinitely. I rest in your love; I find my strength and hope in you alone. Thank you for loving me despite my sinfulness and complete unworthiness. In return, I offer you my whole self, along with my intense desire to put you first in my life.

Petition: Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart more like yours.

1. One Mightier Than I Is Coming:John knows who he is not. Proper self-knowledge is an essential step on the path to sanctity. John is attracting the attention of the multitudes in Israel. Many people would be flattered or even intoxicated with this notoriety. Yet John is not grasping for power, nor does he seek to be someone he is not. He is preparing people’s hearts for the true Christ. The Evil One will continually try to get us to look to ourselves and our own talents in an attempt to distract our eyes from God and his plan for us. John gives us a shining example of the triumph of humble self-knowledge over the wiles of the devil. When we are totally oriented toward God, we give rise to the desire to eliminate from our personal life any lie, vanity, and inflated opinion of ourselves. We begin to live in the truth, giving all the gifts God has granted us their real value. We use them for the service of his Kingdom, without taking anything for ourselves, since everything is his.

2. I Am Not Worthy to Loosen the Thongs of His Sandals: There is no holiness without humility. Simply understood, humility means living in the truth. This humility is born of a proper understanding of our relationship to God. It has nothing to do with a lack of self-respect – Jesus was humble, yet with utter self-possession and strength! Humility is the awareness that even our greatest talents come from God and are meant for his glory. In the end though, even John’s humility will pale in comparison to the humility that Jesus models for us in his life. “The one who serves does not consider himself superior to the one served, however miserable his situation at the moment may be. Christ took the lowest place in the world — the cross — and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid” (Pope Benedict XVI, God Is Love, 35). Once again we see that Jesus asks of us only what he himself has been willing to embrace. He is the source of the strength I need to practice this humility in my daily life.

3. Jesus Was Also Baptized: By being baptized, Jesus associates himself with sinful humanity. He has taken our flesh in the Incarnation. Now he sets out on the path of taking our sins upon himself so that he might redeem us from them. If it was a scandal for the Jewish people that God would become a man, how much more scandalous was it that he would be baptized, a manifest sign of repentance for sins? So great is God’s love for us that even this act is not beneath him. It is one of many steps by which he will allow his love for us to lead him even to the ignominy of the cross. Have I truly contemplated how important I am to Jesus?

Conversation with Christ: Blessed Lord, you went to the extreme of the cross to prove your love for me. You have borne my pride, and with your love and humility, you have proven yourself stronger than my greatest sin. Give me the strength and courage to follow you down the path of self-giving and humble service to those around me. Free me from the shackles of pride.

Resolution: Today I will read and reflect upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1262-1270.

45 posted on 01/13/2013 4:13:32 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body


<< Sunday, January 13, 2013 >> Baptism of the Lord
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7

View Readings
Psalm 104:1-4, 24-25, 27-30
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22



"The skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him." —Luke 3:21-22

The first action of Jesus after His baptism was: "He saw" (Mk 1:10). When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John, "immediately on coming up out of the water He saw" the sky split and the Spirit descend on Him (Mk 1:10). Before Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit, Peter began preaching to them in "these words; 'I begin to see' " (Acts 10:34). It is prophesied that the Messiah upon Whom God's Spirit rests will "open the eyes of the blind" (Is 42:7).

Today's celebration of the baptism of Jesus is associated with seeing God, others, and ourselves in a new way. After receiving the graces of this last day in the Christmas season, we will "no longer know Him by" our old standards (2 Cor 5:16). We will see God not as a force or a thing or even as only a person; we will see Him as our own Father Who loves us (and even likes us) (Mk 1:11). This will transform the way we see ourselves. We will truly believe we are chosen, beloved, royal, priestly, and holy (see 1 Pt 2:9). Then we will see other people as God sees them. We will love our neighbors as ourselves (Mt 22:39). We will "esteem the person of every" human being (1 Pt 2:17).

On this last day of the Christmas season, renew your baptismal promises, open your eyes, and receive the Spirit.

Prayer: Father and Son, today send the Holy Spirit, the true Christmas Spirit.
Promise: "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy." —Ti 3:4-5
Praise: Praise Jesus, beloved Son of the Father! Lord Jesus, baptize us in the Holy Spirit, that we may sing Your praises everywhere.

46 posted on 01/13/2013 4:21:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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40 Days for Life in Riverside, California
After so many years of legalized abortion, many people of faith are experiencing a renewed sense of HOPE!
Continue to pray to end abortion!

47 posted on 01/13/2013 4:24:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Our Lord’s Baptism: A Reflection

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. on January 11, 2013 ·

At first glance, the scene makes little sense.  John’s strident call to repentance provokes an overwhelming response.  People of all shapes and sizes flock to him in the wilderness.  They are baptized in the Jordan as a sign of repentance and cleansing.

Suddenly, out of the crowd steps John’s cousin, Jesus.  Wait a minute.  What’s Jesus, the sinless one, doing in a crowd of repenting sinners?  What’s he doing coming forward to be baptized by John, who is by his own admission, is inferior to his cousin?

Baptism of Jesus 2

Jesus does not enter the water to be sanctified.  No, the Holy One enters the water to sanctify.  He empowers the water to become no longer just an outward sign, but a vehicle of the Holy Spirit bringing inner cleansing, rebirth, and transformation.  Here Jesus institutes the sacrament of Christian baptism, something essentially different and greater than the baptism of John, which foreshadowed it.

Immediately after coming out of the water, the Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove.  Now another sacrament is instituted by Christ, the sacrament of confirmation or, as the Eastern churches call it, chrismation.

Notice that as the Spirit descends upon Jesus, the Father announces from heaven that this is His beloved Son.  Here we have a majestic revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons.  Then notice that Peter, speaking of this event in Acts 10:37, calls it Jesus’ “anointing.”

In the Old Testament, people were anointed with a special type of perfumed olive oil called “chrism” which was stored in a bull’s horn, a symbol of strength.  The first people to be so anointed in the Old Testament were priests, authorized to offer sacrifice on behalf of the people.  Then came prophets, anointed to proclaim God’s challenging and energizing word.  Finally kings were anointed by God to save their people from their enemies.  Actually, the reigning king of Judah was called the anointed one, “messiah” in Hebrew or, in Greek, “Christ.”

So this feast is Jesus’ “name day.”  Of course he is the Word made flesh, full of the Spirit, and savior of Israel from the moment of his conception.  But on this day, the Spirit anoints his human nature in a new way, empowering and equipping him for battle, for his mission to smash the oppressive powers of sin, Satan, and death, and to lead his people into freedom.  He is anointed or “christened” not just as savior-king, but as perfect prophet who speaks God’s final word, and perfect priest who offers the perfect sacrifice taking away all sin.

Some wonder why we need the sacrament of confirmation.  To some it appears to be an afterthought, as anticlimactic.  After all, we receive the Spirit in baptism and receive Christ bodily in the Eucharist.  So what else do we get when we are confirmed?

Simple.  We receive our mission and the power to carry it out.  For being a “Christian” is not about just “getting saved.”  It’s about sharing in Christ’s anointing to transform the world.  The mission is an essential part of the package, not an option.  That’s why we are called “Christians” or anointed ones.  It is not just priests and religious who are supposed to make it happen.  Every single one of us is called and anointed.  And that’s why confirmation is one of the essential sacraments of initiation.  Without it, one is not fully incorporated into the Church, which is a missionary community.

The question for those of us who have received this power-packed sacrament is this–what are we doing with it?

48 posted on 01/13/2013 4:39:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 3
15 And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ; Existimante autem populo, et cogitantibus omnibus in cordibus suis de Joanne, ne forte ipse esset Christus, προσδοκωντος δε του λαου και διαλογιζομενων παντων εν ταις καρδιαις αυτων περι του ιωαννου μηποτε αυτος ειη ο χριστος
16 John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier that I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: respondit Joannes, dicens omnibus : Ego quidem aqua baptizo vos : veniet autem fortior me, cujus non sum dignus solvere corrigiam calceamentorum ejus : ipse vos baptizabit in Spiritu Sancto et igni : απεκρινατο ο ιωαννης απασιν λεγων εγω μεν υδατι βαπτιζω υμας ερχεται δε ο ισχυροτερος μου ου ουκ ειμι ικανος λυσαι τον ιμαντα των υποδηματων αυτου αυτος υμας βαπτισει εν πνευματι αγιω και πυρι
21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God. qui autem facit veritatem, venit ad lucem, ut manifestentur opera ejus, quia in Deo sunt facta. ο δε ποιων την αληθειαν ερχεται προς το φως ινα φανερωθη αυτου τα εργα οτι εν θεω εστιν ειργασμενα
22 After these things Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea: and there he abode with them, and baptized. Post hæc venit Jesus et discipuli ejus in terram Judæam : et illic demorabatur cum eis, et baptizabat. μετα ταυτα ηλθεν ο ιησους και οι μαθηται αυτου εις την ιουδαιαν γην και εκει διετριβεν μετ αυτων και εβαπτιζεν

49 posted on 01/13/2013 5:52:23 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
15. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
16. John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
ORIGEN; It was meet that more deference should be paid to John than to other men, for he lived such as no other man. Wherefore indeed most rightly did they regard him with affection, only they kept not within due bounds; hence it is said, But while the people were expecting whether he were the Christ.

AMBROSE; Now what could be more absurd than that he who was fancied to be in another should not be believed in his own person? He whom they thought to have come by a woman, is not believed to have come by a virgin; while in fact the sign of the Divine coming was placed in tile childbearing of a virgin, not of a woman

ORIGEN; But love is dangerous when it is uncontrolled. For he who loves any one ought to consider the nature and causes of loving, and not to love more than the object deserves. For if he pass the due measure and bounds of love, both he who loves, and he who is loved, will be in sin.

GREEK EX. And hence, John gloried not in the estimation in which all held him, nor in any way seemed to desire the deference of others, but embraced the lowest humility. Hence it follows, John answered.

THEOPHYL; But how could he answer them who in secret thought that he was Christ, except it was that they not only thought, but also (as another Evangelist declares) sending Priests and Levites to him asked him whether he was the Christ or not?

AMBROSE; Or: John saw into the secrets of the heart; but let us remember by whose grace, for it is of the gift of God to reveal things to man, not of the virtue of man, which is assisted by the Divine blessing, rather than capable of perceiving by any natural power of its own. But quickly answering them, he proved that he was not the Christ, for his works were by visible operations. For as man is compounded of two natures, i.e. soul and body, the visible mystery is made holy by the visible, the invisible by the invisible; for by water the body is washed, by the Spirit the soul is cleansed of its stains. It is permitted to us also in the very water to have the sanctifying influence of the Deity breathed upon us. And therefore there was one baptism of repentance, another of grace. The latter was by both water and Spirit, the former by one only; the work of man is to bring forth repentance for his sin, it is the gift of God to pour in the grace of His mystery. Devoid therefore of all envy of Christ's greatness, he declared not by word but by work that he was not the Christ. Hence it follows, There comes after me one mightier than I. In those words, mightier than I, he makes no comparison, for there can be none between the Son of God and man, but because there are many mighty, no one is mightier but Christ. So far indeed was as he from making comparison, that he adds, Whose shoes latched I am not worthy to unloose.

AUG. Matthew says, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. If therefore it is worth while to understand any difference in these expressions, we can only suppose that John said one at one time, another at another, or both together, To bear his shoes, and to loose the latchet of his shoes, so that though one Evangelist may have related this, the others that, yet all have related the truth. But if John intended no more when he spoke of the shoes of our Lord but His excellence and his own humility, whether he said loosing the latchet of the shoes, or bearing them, they have still kept the same sense who by the mention of shoes have in their own words expressed the same signification of humility.

AMBROSE; By the words, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, he shows that the grace of preaching the Gospel was conferred upon the Apostles, who were shod for the Gospel. He seems however to say it, because John frequently represented the Jewish people.

GREG. But John denounces himself as unworthy to loose the latchet of Christ's shoes: as if he openly said, I am not able to disclose the footsteps of my Redeemer, who do not presume unworthily to take unto myself the name of bridegroom, for it was an ancient custom that when a man refused to take to wife her whom he ought, whoever should come to her betrothed by right of kin, was to loose his shoe. Or because shoes are made from the skins of dead animals, our Lord being made flesh appeared as it were with shoes, as taking upon Himself the carcass of our corruption. The latchet of the shoe is the connection of the mystery. John therefore can not loose the latchet of the shoe, because neither is he able to fathom the mystery of the Incarnation, though he acknowledged it by the Spirit of prophecy.

CHRYS. And having said that his own baptism was only with water, he next shows the excellence of that baptism which was brought by Christ, adding, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and fire, signifying by the very metaphor which he uses the abundance of grace. For he says not, " He shall give you the Holy Spirit," but He shall baptize you. And again, by the addition of fire, he shows the power of grace. And as Christ calls the grace of the Spirit, water, meaning by water the purity resulting from it, and the abundant consolation which is brought to minds which are capable of receiving Him; so also John, by the word fire, expresses the fervor and uprightness of grace, as well as the consuming of sins.

THEOPHYL; The Holy Spirit also may be understood by the word fire, for He kindles with love and enlightens with wisdom the hearts which He fills. Hence also the Apostles received the baptism of the Spirit in the appearance of fire. There are some who explain it, that now we are baptized with the Spirit, hereafter we shall be with fire, that as in truth we are now born again to the remission of our sins by water and the Spirit, so then we shall be cleansed from certain lighter sins by the baptism of purifying fire.

ORIGEN; And as John was waiting by the river Jordan for those who came to his baptism, and some he drove away, saying, Generation of vipers, but those who confessed their sins he received, so shall the Lord Jesus stand in the fiery stream with the flaming sword, that whoever after the close of this life desires to pass over to Paradise and needs purification, He may baptize him with this laver, and pass him over to paradise, but whoso has not the seal of the former baptisms, him He shall not baptize with the laver of fire.

BASIL; But because he says, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, let no one admit that baptism to be valid in which the name of His Spirit only has been invoked, for we must ever keep undiminished that tradition which has' been sealed to us in quickening grace. To add or take away ought thereof excludes from eternal life.

GREEK EX. By these words then, He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit, He signifies the abundance of His grace, the plenteousness of His mercy; but lest any should suppose that while to bestow abundantly is both in the power and will of the Creator,

He will have no occasion to punish the disobedient, he adds, whose fan is in his hand, showing that He is not only the rewarder of the righteous, but the avenger of them that speak lies. But the fan expresses the promptitude of His judgment. For not with the process of passing sentence on trial, but in an instant and without any interval he separates those that are to be condemned from the company of those that are to be saved.

21. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.

AMBROSE; In a matter which has been related by others Luke has rightly given us only a summary, and has left more to be understood than expressed in the fact, that our Lord was baptized by John. As it is said, Now when all were baptized, it came to pass. Our Lord was baptized not that He might be cleansed by the waters but to cleanse them, that being purified by the flesh of Christ who knew no sin, they might possess the power of baptism.

GREG. NAZ. Christ comes also to baptism perhaps to sanctify baptism, but doubtless to bury the old Adam in water.

AMBROSE; But the cause of our Lord's baptism He Himself declares when He says, Thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. But what is righteousness, except that what you would have another do to you, you should first begin yourself, and so by your example encourage others? Let none then avoid the laver of grace, since Christ avoided not the laver of repentance.

CHRYS. Now there was a Jewish baptism which removed the pollutions of the flesh, not the guilt of the conscience; but our baptism parts us from sin, washes the soul, and gives us largely the outpouring of the Spirit. But John's baptism was more excellent than the Jewish; for it did not bring men to the observance of bodily purifications, but taught them to turn from sin to virtue. But it was inferior to our baptism, in that it conveyed not the Holy Spirit, nor showed forth the remission which is by grace, for there was a certain end as it were of each baptism. But neither by the Jewish nor our own baptism was Christ baptized, for He needed not the pardon of sins, nor was that flesh destitute of the Holy Spirit which from the very beginning was conceived by the Holy Spirit; He was baptized by the baptism of John, that from the very nature of the baptism, you might know that He was not baptized because He needed the gift of the Spirit. But he says, fitting baptized and praying, that you might consider how fitting to one who has received baptism is constant prayer.

THEOPHYL; Because though all sins are forgiven in baptism, not as yet is the weakness of this fleshly substance made strong. For we rejoice at the overwhelming of the Egyptians having now crossed the Red sea, but in the wilderness of worldly living there meet us other foes, who, the grace of Christ directing us, may by our exertions be subdued until we come to our own country.

CHRYS. But he says, The heavens opened, as if till then they had been shut. But now the higher and the lower sheep-fold being brought into one, and there being one Shepherd of the sheep, the heavens opened, and man was incorporated a fellow citizen with the Angels.

THEOPHYL; For not then were the heavens opened to Him whose eyes scanned the innermost parts of the heaven, but therein is shown the virtue of baptism, that when a man comes forth from it the gates of the heavenly kingdom are opened to him, and while his flesh is bathed unharmed in the cold waters, which formerly dreaded their hurtful touch, the flaming sword is extinguished.

CHRYS. The Holy Spirit descended also upon Christ as upon the Founder of our race, that He might be in Christ first of all who received Him not for Himself, but rather for us. Hence it follows: And the Holy Spirit descended. Let not any one imagine that He received Him because He had Him not. For He as God sent Him from above, and as man received Him below. Therefore from Him the Spirit fled down to Him, i.e. from His deity to His humanity.

AUG. But it is most strange that He should receive the Spirit when he was thirty years old. But as without sin He came to baptism, so not without the Holy Spirit. For if it was written of John, He shall be filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb, what must we believe of the man Christ, the very conception of whose flesh was not carnal but spiritual. Therefore He condescended now to prefigure His body, i.e. the Church, in which the baptized especially receive the Holy Spirit.

CHRYS. That baptism savored partly of antiquity, partly of novelty. For that he should receive baptism from a Prophet showed antiquity, but the Spirit's descent denoted something new.

AMBROSE; Now the Spirit rightly showed Himself in the form of a dove, for He is not seen in His divine substance. Let us consider the mystery why like a dove? Because the grace of baptism requires innocence, that we should be innocent as doves. The grace of baptism requires peace, which under the emblem of an olive branch the dove once brought to that ark which alone escaped the deluge.

CHRYS. Or to show the meekness of the Lord, the Spirit now appears in the form of a dove, but at Pentecost like fire, to signify punishment. For when He was about to pardon offenses, gentleness was necessary; but having obtained grace, there remains for us the time of trial and judgment.

CYPRIAN; Now the dove is a harmless and pleasant creature, with no bitterness of gall, no fierceness of bite, no violence of rending talons; they love the abodes of men, consort within one home, when they have young nurturing them together, when they fly abroad, hanging side by side upon the wing, leading their life in mutual intercourse, giving with their bills a sign of their peaceful harmony, and fulfilling a law of unanimity in every way.

CHRYS. Christ indeed had already manifested Himself at His birth by many oracles, but because men would not consult them, He who had in the mean time remained secret, again more clearly revealed Himself in a second birth. For formerly a star in the heavens, now the Father at the waves of Jordan declared Him, and as the Spirit descended upon Him, pouring forth that voice over the head of Him who was baptized, as it follows, And a voice came from heaven, You are my beloved Son.

AMBROSE; We have seen the Spirit, but in a bodily shape, and the Father whom we cannot see we may hear. He is invisible because He is the Father, the Son also is invisible in His divinity, but He wished to manifest Himself in the body. And because the Father did not take the body, He wished therefore to prove to us that He was present in the Son, by saying, You are my Son.

ATHAN. The holy Scriptures by the name of Son set forth two meanings; one similar to that spoken of in the Gospel, He gave to them power that they should become the sons of God; another according to which Isaac is the son of Abraham. Christ is not then simply called a Son of God, but the article is prefixed, that we should understand that He alone is really and by nature the Son; and hence He is said to be the Only begotten. For if according to the madness of Arius He is called Son, as they are called who obtain the name through grace, He will seem in no way to differ from us. It remains therefore that in another respect we must confess Christ to be the Son of God, even as Isaac is acknowledged to be the son of Abraham. For that which is naturally begotten of another, and takes not its origin from any thing besides nature, accounts a son. But it is said, Was then the birth of the Son with suffering as of a man? By no means. God since He cannot be divided is without suffering the Father of the Son. Hence He is called the Word of the Father, because neither is the word of man even produced with suffering and since God is by nature one, He is the Father of one only Son, and therefore it is added, Beloved. For when a man has only one son, he loves him very much, but if he becomes father of many, his affection is divided by being distributed.

ATHAN. But as the prophet had before announced the promise of God, saying, I will send Christ my son, that promise being now as it were accomplished at Jordan, He rightly adds, In you I am well pleased.

THEOPHYL; As if He said, In You have I appointed My good pleasure, i.e. to carry on by You what seems good to Me.

GREG. Or else, Every one who by repentance corrects any of his actions, by that very repentance shows that he has displeased himself, seeing he amends what he has done. And since the Omnipotent Father spoke of sinners after the manner of men, saying, It repents me that I have made man, He (so to speak) displeased Himself in the sinners whom He had created. But in Christ alone He pleased Himself, for in Him alone He found no fault that He should blame Himself, as it were, by repentance.

AUG. But the words of Matthew, This is my beloved Son, and those of Luke, You are my beloved, Son, convey the same meaning; for the heavenly voice spoke one of these. But Matthew wished to show that by the words, This is my beloved Son, it was meant rather to declare to the hearers, that He was the Son of God. For that was not revealed to Christ which He knew, but they heard it who were present, and for whom the voice came.

Catena Aurea Luke 3
50 posted on 01/13/2013 5:52:57 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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