This week we are back to John the Baptist and to Jordan river but in a different context and perspective. John’s prophecy about Jesus started to come true. Jesus started to act as the Messiah … but on this occasion Jesus didn’t organize a spectacular kick off event with fireworks. Jesus first was looking for the people he could trust, for the disciples. He didn’t need bodyguards, or admirers, or supermen but he was looking for the people of faith who could carry on that faith across the ages. He found them, they found him.
Jesus had very specific way of testing his disciples. He let them to stay with him. This is what Jesus always does for those who are interested to follow him, He invites them to his home. We find Jesus in every Church. There is His constant presence and joy when He is seeing us coming together, united in our faith. The church is his home, and it is our home. Not being able to visit him there is the true reason why we are so saddened now when the church door is closed.
I remember when doing my grocery shopping, sometimes I could here children behind my back whispering to their parents, “Mom, look, Father Luke is buying milk.” I felt like a little paparazzi busted me, but I was also glad that they could recognize me as an ordinary guy who needs to buy milk and on other occasion is standing at the altar and gives them Jesus. This time is over, at least for some time since no one can see my face behind the mask or see mee smiling when I recognize them.
Isolation, loneliness is the big problem of this pandemic. I can imagine only how big its impact is on the people who don’t have many family or fiends to see or give a call to. I assume we have many parishioners in this situation. When on the phone with someone like that the conversation is going on and on, just can’t stop.
As soon as this social distancing will be over, we must do something to connect our parishioners who feel lonely. We have space to have them over. We have chairs and tables they can sit around. Tea or coffee, prayer or game or just ordinary conversation, something that can bond them together so that in case of another pandemic and lockdown they can call each other, care about each and other simply be together despite physical distancing. Just an idea worth to give a thought.
"Following a request from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
Sacraments in Vatican the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to adjust the English-language wording to the conclusion of the Collect (the opening prayer) in the Roman Missal as approved for use in Canada.
As of Ash Wednesday, 17 February 2021, the word “one” is to be omitted from the conclusion of the Collect, and likewise of similar prayers in the liturgy (for example, the Blessing of Water at the Easter Vigil). Instead of ending “one God, for ever and ever”, the Collect will now end “God, for ever and ever”.
Until now, the word “one” has been used in the conclusion to the Collect in both the earlier and
the current English-language translations of the Roman Missal. However, in consultation with the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, the Bishops of English-speaking countries are in the process of deciding when and how each country will implement this change. The reason for it is to avoid possible misunderstandings about the identity of the Son within the Blessed Trinity, or even the misconception that Our Lord Jesus Christ is “one God” among others.
With this change, the English will now also be consistent with the Latin text, as well as conform
with translations into other European languages including French..."
(Diocese of Hamilton Liturgical Office Instructions, Jan 2021)
Collect for today:
Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care,
O Lord, we pray,
that they may see what must be done
and gain strength to do what they have seen.
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.
I am always very grateful to all my friends and parishioners who make sure to issue to Santa “you were a good boy certificate” and consequently make some beautiful presents appearing under my Christmas Three. This year I want to highlight one of them. I was really excited to open the package and find inside a rare gift, a brand new Word on Fire Bible. It is a collection of four Gospels only, but it is published in a special way.
Father Casey Cole was also surprised by the gift of this Bible and recorded a nice presentation explaining why this edition is so special ... Thnak you for all the gifts!
I celebrate the Holy Mas today for Maurice Foster, a friend of mine and old-time parishioner of Saint Dominic’s church in Barbados who was buried last week. I want to thank God for giving us Maurice who was an exceptional husband, father, and parishioner and who loved his Catholic faith, his Island and sport. A few words from a Facebook post below tell more about Maurice. I was privileged to be Maurice's pastor and spiritual director. I always admired his simple faith that he nourished regularly through the Sacraments. Rest in Peace Maurice! May God grant concolation to his wife Linda and the whole family.
"Maurice Foster was a true star. Not however of the Hollywood variety. In looking for a leader and role model we need only look at the way Maurice lived his life. Devoted loyal husband to Linda and his children and their offspring. A man who lived his Catholic faith fully and demonstrated his values in what he did and said and how he spent his time. [....] Cheerful. Modest. Reliable, competent. Dapper, handsome and trim.
A man you want on your team. A role model. Gifted sportsman. Thank you Maurice. You have left us all a beautiful and memorable legacy." [From FB note by Peter John Boos]
“Marguerite is often referred to as the “Mother of the Colony’ for her Contributions to the establishment of Ville-Marie, the place we know today as Montreal.
Born in France in 1620, Marguerite crossed the Atlantic in 1653 to join in the colonizing efforts begun by Monsieur de Maisonneuve. Her mandate was to develop educational opportunities for aboriginal children and for the families of the French settlers in Ville-Marie.
Marguerite received’ the help of Jeanne Mance, founder of the Hotel-Dieu Hospital. Other women joined her and the group formed an institute of uncloistered sisters, the Congrégation of Notre-Dame. Marguerite and her companions took on many roles, including teaching, introducing vocational courses for youth and assisting couples preparing for marriage. She resisted Church pressure to change her community to a cloistered one and lived to see her order’s rule confirmed in 1698. Marguerite was well loved. She died in 1700 at the age of 80 and was declared a saint on October 31, 1982. In 1997, archaeologists uncovered the foundation of the chapel Marguerite built in Ville-Marie 325 years earlier. Marguerite is a patron saint of poor people.” (Living with Christ, January 2021)
Little smile for the beginning of the new season in the Church calendar. Today is the Monday of the Frist Week of the Ordinary Time but the same Lord's Prayer and request for the daily bread ...
The Baptism of the Lord is referred often to as another Epiphany. Jesus is identified by His Father as the beloved Son of God. It is a sign for Jesus to begin his journey to the Cross. After Jesus will die the waters of baptism will not only wash our sins but will also give us the new life in the Holy Spirit.
Do you know where you were baptised? Who were your godparents? Perhaps you still have your baptismal candle, or the original certificate?
In this opening prayer for the morning Holy Mass today we are reminded once again that Jesus inherited our human nature and became fully God and man to restore our lost dignity as children of God, that we may be found in the likeness of him. The likeness of Jesus Christ is already in you ….
Almighty ever-living God,
who through your Only Begotten Son
have made us a new creation for yourself,
grant, we pray,
that by your grace we may be found in the likeness of him,
in whom our nature is united to you.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.
As we are slowly approaching the end of Christmas season the liturgy, its readings unveil to us the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It is a huge jump from the manger to Jesus’ baptism, thirty years in only a couple of days. No worry, we will be analyzing every step of Jesus’ ministry and teaching when we will enter Ordinary Season in the liturgy, the Green Sundays. These days now are preparing us for the Feast of Jesus’ Baptism.
Jesus is confronted today by a lepper, an untouchable person. Very soon, Jesus will commit most of his time to touch those outcasts, and to heal something worse than leprosy, the sin. Jesus’s baptism is only a sign of the baptism to come that can wash sin away and restore our lost dignity of God’s children.