January 6, 2018

Jan. 6

January 6, 2018:  Saturday before Epiphany

See 14 connections with today?
Legend below
For Psalm 147
Pope Francis
Epiphany (though we don't celebrate it till tomorrow) AngelusAttitudes that characterize Jesus' Epiphany ('manifestation'):  careful searching, indifference, and fear.  The Magi carefully search for the Messiah.  The scribes and chief priests, who know where Jesus was born, are indifferent and stay within their comfort zones.  Herod has the worst reaction:  he fears the Child will usurp his authority and pretends to want to pay him homage because he wants to eliminate his rival.  Fear provokes hypocrisy.
We must choose our attitude before Jesus' coming.  Selfishness can make us think of Jesus as a threat or obstacle, and indifference can lead us to live as if he didn't exist, but we're called to follow the Magi's example:  to search carefully, go out of our way to meet Jesus, worship him, recognize he's Lord, and follow his way.  If we choose this attitude, Jesus saves us and we can live a beautiful life, growing in faith, hope, and love for God and others.  With Mary's help, may every person find Christ, the Light of Truth, and may the world go forward along the path of justice and peace.  Full text
Epiphany homilyDare to look up to the star and “set out,” shake off your comforts, give freely, and do good to Jesus' "least” brothers and sisters.  The Magi saw the star, set out, and brought gifts.  It began when they looked to the star, the star of Jesus that doesn't dazzle or overwhelm but gently invites.  Others stars like success, money, career, honor, and pleasure blaze and fade, not pointing the way; but the Lord’s star ensures peace and grants joy.
Just as they set out after seeing the star, the star of Jesus demands that those who seek him leave worldly comforts behind.  To find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction, and our refusal to ask more of life.  This isn't easy, just as the Magi came across Herod and the priests and scribes who were afraid of what God was doing.  Christians can fall into the same temptation and talk about faith but take no risk, or pray but do no good, unlike the Magi who talked little and journeyed much.
The Magi bring costly gifts.  The Gospel becomes real when we give.  Giving freely, for the Lord’s sake, without expecting anything is the sure sign we've found Jesus.  Giving freely is doing good without counting the cost, even when not asked, even when you gain nothing from it, even if it's unpleasant.  Jesus asks us to give to the least of his brothers and sisters, who have nothing to give in return.  We give a gift pleasing to him when we care for a sick person, spend time with a difficult person, help someone for the sake of helping, or forgive someone who has hurt us.  Think of a gift you can give without expecting anything back.
  • 1 Jn 5:5-13 The one who believes Jesus is God's Son is victor.  The Spirit, the water, and the Blood testify God gave us eternal life in his Son.  Whoever possesses the Son has life.
  • Ps 147:12-15, 19-20  "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem."  God has strengthened your gates, blessed your children, given you peace, and filled you with the best of wheat.
  • Mk 1:7-11  John the Baptist:  “One mightier is coming after me; I'm not worthy to loosen his sandals.  I baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John.  He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending upon him.  A voice came from the heavens:  “You are my beloved Son; with you I am pleased.”
  • Lk 3:23-38  Jesus began his ministry when he was about 30.  He was the son of Joseph, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
    The baptism of Christ/ Ghirlandaio
    (More images)
  • Creighton:  Mark uses Old Testament language to communicate the Good News of Jesus.  “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit”:  Those John baptized likely understood the baptism as recommitment to living the law of Moses, but how would they have understood the promise of baptism in the Spirit?  “I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind.”  Joel pointed to a time when the Spirit would be for everyone, not just prophets and kings.  They might have also recalled Ezekiel's prophecy that God would bring them home, cleanse them from idolatry, give them a new heart, and put his Spirit in them, enabling them to live the covenant to the full.  Jesus saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him.  Heaven being torn open may refer to the sky being ripped open, where Isaiah prays to God, “Father, rend the heavens and come down,”  another plea for the Spirit in a passage that mentions the Spirit three times before.  They'd see that Jesus answers Isaiah's prayer.  The dove could refer to a new beginning.  The dunking in the Spirit and tearing open of the sky remind us that the Child brings new life with God, the gift of the Spirit, a fresh start. May we let God work this newness in our lives.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Christmas misery":  Many experience hurt, depression, and bondage to sin during this season.  Marriages fail, bitterness and resentment poison family life, and hearts are broken.  People mourn the loss of loved ones....  Jesus sees our pain and wills for us Christmas, life, repentance, healing, and salvation.  "You who believe in the Son of God possess eternallife."
  • PassionistWho'd have thought God would have chosen John the Baptist to introduce Jesus as Messiah?  He was a "wilderness man" with a blunt, unpolished message.  Perhaps it was because of his humility.  “Humility is keeping yourself within your own bounds,... submitting” (Thomas Aquinas).  John knew he wasn't the Messiah, just a lesser voice with a lesser baptism.  He encouraged his disciples Andrew and Simon follow Jesus; he let them go because he knew Jesus was the leader.  May we lead others to Jesus through humility....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "The Spirit descends upon the Father's beloved Son":  Jesus didn't need John's baptism of repentance but humbly submitted to it, a foreshadowing of his "baptism" of blood on the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant; he let himself be numbered among sinners.  The Father proclaimed his delight in him for all to hear. The Spirit was present as Jesus was anointed for his ministry.  Jesus would be the source of the Spirit for all who believe.  "Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him" (Gregory Nazianzen).  To be transformed by Christ's love and power and become a more effective servant of the gospel of peace, mercy, and justice, ask the Spirit to forge Jesus' humility in you.  The Lord wants to renew us in the Spirit and anoint us for mission to be "salt and light" to others, to let his love and truth to shine through us.  Lord, fill us with your Spirit so we may radiate gospel joy.
Dress Legend
  • 'Dove' pin:  The Spirit testifies (1st reading); He'll baptize you with the Spirit; Spirit descended on Jesus (gospel)
  • Blue and white in shirt, white socks:  Blue for the water that testifies (1st reading) and baptism with water (gospel), white for Christmas season
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  The blood testifies (1st reading)
  • 'Children' pin:  "God has blessed your children" (psalm)
  • 'Happy birthday, Jesus' pin:  The one who believes Jesus is God's Son is victor (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  God granted peace in your borders (psalm)
  • 'Noël' pin, Christmas tie and suspenders:  It's Christmas season through Monday
  • 'Caged lion' pin:  God has strengthened the bars of your gates (psalm)
  • '3 rubies' pin:  3 Magi (since many celebrate Epiphany today)
  • Sandals (not shown):  John:  I'm not worthy to loosen his sandals (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin (can't find; see 12-22):  God fills you with the best of wheat (psalm)

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