“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Mt 3:17
Our New Year begins with the Feasts of Epiphany and the Baptism of Our Lord. What is in those Feasts that could
inspire our coming year? Surely there is grace in every Sunday celebrated, but as John Paul II said, “In the designs of
Providence there are no mere coincidences.” There is grace, the life of God, in each and every moment of our existence,
if only we will listen and receive what the Lord has for us in that particular moment. So what can we derive from
the last two Sundays of the Advent and Christmas Season?
Epiphany is a Feast of Light, where God foreshadows His plan to reveal Himself to the gentiles, the non-Jewish
peoples. He does this through those ‘three wise guys’ as I like to affectionately call them. We actually don’t even know
that there were three of them. The number three comes from the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These certainly indicate three
areas of Christian life that demand our attention. Gold is a symbol of kingship, frankincense of priesthood, and myrrh of humanity and suffering.
Kingship can indicate the need for right governance, which if we apply that to ourselves, we might consider the virtues necessary to govern
our souls in making right choices. The beginning of a New Year is an excellent time to make resolutions around our own growth in Christ.
Is there a virtue that you need to strengthen? Remember that virtue in itself can be defined as “a good habit”; or “…a mean between excess
and defect; thus courage is a mean between cowardice and rashness, and liberality is a mean between stinginess and prodigality”; or “a habit
which perfects a power that a thing has.” Too often we think of virtue as something extreme, when it is actually the opposite.
What virtue do I need the most this coming year? Thomas à Kempis wrote that if we only added one virtue a year we would be saints in
no time. A few virtues to consider: faith, hope, love (the three theological virtues); fortitude, prudence, temperance, justice (the four cardinal
virtues); understanding, science, wisdom, art (intellectual virtues); in sub-categories we can name patience, chastity, humility and a host of
others. The most important thing is that we obtain them. They also flock together like the proverbial birds, so if we acquire one, the others are
If we can choose virtue, we also choose happiness and prepare the way for Christ, which relates to our second Feast Day, the Baptism
of Our Lord. The word for ‘Baptism’ in the Greek is baptizo or Βαπτιζω, which means “to immerse”. Have you ever been immersed in water
in a way that truly delighted you? I can remember a creek in Colorado that had a little waterfall, only a few feet really, but there was an air gap
behind it, so that one could dip one’s head back underneath the waterfall and into the air space behind the water. On a hot Colorado day in
the Rocky Mountains, it felt like heaven, and what a view. It was an immersion that I will always remember.
How much more should we consider our Baptism in Christ which we continue to affirm as adults, immersing ourselves in Christ as He
immerses Himself in us through the Holy Eucharist? What kind of a shower is He getting when He moves into our souls? Is He getting a
warm, heartfelt reception? Or am I indifferent or distracted? Do I resist God’s will in someway? I believe Christ is aware of these attitudes as
He tries to unite Himself to us in perfect love. We can actually change our attitudes through the grace of God and a prayerful turning towards
Him. Speaking to Him, even when, or shall I say, especially when we might feel indifferent, cold, bored, or dissatisfied, immediately gives God
a chance to warm our hearts with the truth about His love for us and desire to save us from our own weaknesses.
He desires to immerse Himself in us, to be with us during 2011 and beyond into eternity.
Thank You for Christmas
Thank you to all who made our Church so beautiful inside and outside for the Christmas Season. It was a wonderful atmosphere facilitated
by Cynde Bosshart, Mary Jo Kemper, and Rosanna Liliequist, and their energetic crew of volunteers. I also want to thank all who provided
the welcome and liturgies that we celebrated. The music was wonderful and all the assistance with parking and other logistics was
superb. I know many people were blessed. In fact, our Mass count for the five Christmas Masses was around 4500! Please pray that all who
attended will continue to grow and respond to Christ during this coming year.
Thank You for Presents
Thanks to all who gave gifts to me this Christmas. I am overwhelmed by your generosity and love. I hope to send thank you cards, but if
you don’t hear from me please accept my apology and thanks. There were also a few gifts that may have been separated from their cards,
namely a book of sermons by St. Alphonsus, a prayer sweatshirt, and a Gucci cloth. Please let me know if you gave these so I can thank you.
Many blessings to all during this coming year of 2011.
- ▼ 2011 (50)