A Note from Fr. Pisut
Friday, January 8, 2021
Today, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we end the Christmas Season. This feast is the last of the three feasts of the Christmas Season which mark the various ways in which Christ revealed himself to the world. At Christmas we have contemplated the human birth of the Word incarnate, Jesus taking flesh and being born as an infant by the Virgin Mary. 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 with the Baptism of the Lord in the river Jordan by John the Baptist the Church recalls Our Lord's beginning of his public ministry, his manifestation of himself to the world. With Jesus’ baptism he 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.
With the completion of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we will now put away the joyful liturgical colors of gold and white and return to the hope filled green of Ordinary Time. In a way this mirrors the reality then as now. With the beginning of Jesus’ ministry people would follow him wherever he went, they would walk with him from town to town, filled with the hope that he was the promised one, the Messiah. Now with Ordinary Time we will walk with Jesus, also filled with the hope that he brings to us in the ordinariness of our daily lives.
On the 14th of January, is the Feast of the Infant of Prague. Has our statue of the Infant of Prague caught your eye? He is in the church on a pedestal on the wall between the cove with Mary and the ambo/pulpit. Beneath the statue is a devotional candle stand with red votive holders. You are always invited to light a candle and offer a prayer. Learn more about this Feast Day in the bulletin next weekend.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge in a special way Deacon Kevin Heim. While we have four deacons here at St. Augustin various things have legitimately prevented the others from being present at the parish. With all the COVID restrictions one of the last ways, and the most important way, that the clergy can be present to the faithful is in the context of Holy Mass. Deacon Heim has stepped in on his own to be present at all the Masses, including Christmas, along with his other roles that he has with RCIA, baptism and lector preparation. He truly has been an example of service. Thank you, Deacon Heim!