The Baptism of the Lord

January 13, 2019

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. In the liturgical year today ‘officially’ ends the season of Christmas as Jesus is manifest once again. On Monday we return to Ordinary Time until our next major season, Lent, which starts late this year on March 6th. Last Sunday’s feast of the Epiphany was the first of three of manifestations of Jesus as the Lord. With the revelation at the Jordan of Jesus as God’s beloved Son, and the Miracle at Cana, changing water into wine, Jesus is manifest as Immanuel, God-with-us. When a baby is clothed with the white baptismal garment, the priest or deacon prays, “You have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your new Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.” At Jesus’ baptism God’s voice resounds, “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased.” (Lk. 3:16) He did not become a new creation, as we do. In His baptism people had a new awareness of who He was, God’s beloved Son. When we were baptized, we became God’s adopted sons and daughters. Baptism clothes us in Christ. We are to bring the Christian dignity of that garment unstained into everlasting life. Today’s 2nd reading from St. Paul’s Letter to Titus tells us how to do that. We are to live “temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.” We are to live with self-control and balance, growing in mercy as God is merciful, loving Him above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. We are to be people of prayer and holiness. By being holy, we will fill the world with the comfort, tenderness, and care which Isaiah speaks in our first reading.

Thank You to all helped with taking down the Christmas decorations last Sunday. It’s always a blessing to see our community at work. After a spectacularly beautiful Christmas here at St. Luke’s it was sad to dismantle it and pack it up for another year, but we can look forward to seeing it again next Christmas.

Now that we have begun 2019 in earnest, I want to once again thank our newly formed Festival Choir for all their time and talents shared with our parish this Christmas. With just 11 voices it was a blessing to many souls and the comments I heard were all impressive. Thank you too to our Organist, Frank Jorns, for his dedication and leadership. The Festival Choir will start up in late February to prepare for the great celebration of Holy Week and Easter. We have some outstanding music prepared for our next season. Please consider joining us. We can always use more voices. (The choir loft is equipped to hold 30 voices comfortably. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold? Kind of like the old days of volunteer parish choirs.)

As promised during Advent, St. Luke Parish will be conducting a survey beginning this weekend asking your input on the current life of the parish and giving all parishioners an opportunity to share their thoughts. The Parish Council is setting goals and priorities for the coming year. We are hoping to have three main goals to accomplish in this New Year and developing Action steps to achieving them. Your input is very important in order for us to all embrace this. Please take time, either online or by use of the paper copies at the doors of Church. These can be placed in the regular offertory and they will make it to the Council. Thank you in advance for your time and your input.

I am looking forward to the Lenten Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2019. Currently we have 18 pilgrims signed up. That’s a good number, but there is still room for more. You may have seen the advertisement I placed in the St. Louis Review to encourage more pilgrims to sign up. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining me and other parishioners from St. Luke, Immaculate Conception, and beyond, please contact me by the end of January. The ten days walking where Jesus walked and experiencing the Holy places of the Holy Land will be an incredible way to experience Holy Week this year. Someone once said that the Holy Land is the “Fifth Gospel,” where people experience the Good News and have a special encounter with the Risen Lord.

God Bless! Have a great week!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)