Shepherds of Christ  
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January 7, 2009

January 8th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 1 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for January 8th are Luminous.

 

    

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January 7, 2009

   

John 19: 6-11

When they saw him, the chief priests and the guards shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him: I find no case against him.’ The Jews replied, ‘We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to be put to death, because he has claimed to be Son of God.’

When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re–entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, ‘Where do you come from?’ But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him, ‘Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?’ Jesus replied, ‘You would have no power over me at all if it had not been given you from above; that is why the man who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.’
 

   

               Jesus: The devil wants you to
                   operate for him.

               I have all the power.

               The devil wants you to do his work —

               Pray to the Holy Spirit to be abundantly
                    operating in you —

                    So you do God's will in love.

 
  

I Am the Light of the World, You Are My Lamp (excerpt)

January 21, 1994 5:10 a.m.

Jesus: I have all the power. I can stop it all and rock you in a moment, but I keep asking for your prayers. You faithful ones, you are the answer to the aching world. Your prayers are so powerful. Don't stand on a box and preach how bad the world is. They don't hear you. You waste your energy. You work yourself up. Preach only of My love. Pray constantly. By your example you teach mighty lessons.

The world is starving and the only thing they will take notice of is the food for their starving soul. They need food. The Mass is their salvation if they would go and listen to the readings and come with an open heart to receive all that they could there. But most of their hearts are closed and they are not in a state to receive Me. They have worshiped false gods and don't even know it.

You pray, little ones. The souls of your brothers are dependent on your prayers. The state of the world is dependent on your prayers. Pray the rosary. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Sit and develop an intimate love affair with Me. Go to daily Mass and Communion. Pray with your children. Play with them and stay close to them. Read them these letters.

Give others My words here. Tell them of My intense love for them and My longing to be alone with them. Tell them that God is waiting for them and that He has the cure for their aching hearts. Plant seeds about My love even when you are rejected. You are the dresser in a barren field. Do not cover your light. Let it shine to all so they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.

Pray to fight off Satan's distractions in your own lives. He wants you focused on yourselves and trouble in your life. Put your troubles at the foot of My cross and be the light in the darkness. Your light, your example in such darkness and your love given to the hardened heart are what will help save this cold world!

Do you underestimate your value here? You are candles in the darkest night. Satan wants to snuff you out. He wants you to remain, like the world, at unrest. You must go to the world prepared by My love. Your arms are hearts filled with My love. You are candles in the dark night. Offer up your struggles to Me that you might shine even brighter. Strive for holiness. Do not go to the negativeness of the world. Focus on the remedy: your prayers and My love.

Be the light in the darkness. Be ever up and ready for a battle with love and My operating in you. Stay so steadfast in Me that you allow Me to operate from you.

You are My soldiers in this cold, cold world. You are soldiers of love. Your arms are your warm and radiant hearts furnished by Me. I am all powerful. Do not ever underestimate what a heart fixed in Me will do in this world. Do not ever underestimate that when I operate from you I am God and I am all powerful.

Be My empty vessel to the world. Let Me possess your soul and operate from your very being. What might for your sick brothers! When you get caught up in their deeds and your distractions, you are stopping the flow of My love to your brothers. Be as an empty pipe. You exist to let My love flow constantly into and out of you. Do not clog up your pipe and stop My love and My light from reaching your brothers.

You are a light set on a hill that shines to all. A city is warmed by the love of Jesus if you keep yourselves fixed in Me. Do not give in to self-pity or wailing about your trials. Offer them up for strength. I am the light of the world and you are My lamp. Let Me shine from you. Let Me warm the cold heart. Become selfless and unattached. Your work is at hand. You indeed need My strength. Tell Satan to be gone and place your cares at My feet! Be about My work. I need to use you. Be an empty vessel and come and be filled by Me.

You are so valuable to Me. I need you now! Do not say no. Do not let Satan distract you. You are My precious little ones, such beautiful children. Live in My love and let Me live in you!

end of excerpt

 

1 John 4: 11-18

My dear friends,
if God loved us so much,
we too should love one another.
No one has ever seen God,
but as long as we love one another
God remains in us
and his love comes to its perfection in us.
This is the proof that we remain in him
and he in us,
that he has given us a share in his Spirit.
We ourselves have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son
as Saviour of the world.
Anyone who acknowledges
    that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have recognised for ourselves,
and put our faith in,
    the love God has for us.
God is love,
and whoever remains in love
    remains in God
and God in him.
Love comes to its perfection in us
when we can face
    the Day of Judgement fearlessly,
because even in this world
we have become as he is.
In love there is no room for fear,
but perfect love drives out fear,
because fear implies punishment
and no one who is afraid
    has come to perfection in love.

   

Psalm 72: 1-2, 10, 12-13

God, endow the king with your own fair judgement,
  the son of the king with your own saving justice,
that he may rule your people with justice,
  and your poor with fair judgement.

the kings of Tarshish and the islands
  will pay him tribute.

The kings of Sheba and Saba
  will offer gifts;

For he rescues the needy who calls to him,
  and the poor who has no one to help.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
  and saves the needy from death. 

              

Mark 6: 45-52

And at once he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side near Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to them he went off into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was far out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. He could see that they were hard pressed in their rowing, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea. He was going to pass them by, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke to them and said, 'Courage! It's me! Don't be afraid.' Then he got into the boat with them and the wind dropped. They were utterly and completely dumbfounded, because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed.

 

                Song: A Song from Jesus

 

1 John 4: 19

Let us love, then,
because he first loved us.
 

1 John 5:4

because every child of God 
overcomes the world. 
And this is the victory 
    that has overcome the world—
our faith.

  

Luke 4: 14-22

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone glorified him.

He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written: The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord. He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’

   

1 John 5: 5-13

Who can overcome the world
but the one who believes
    that Jesus is the Son of God?
He it is who came by water and blood,
Jesus Christ,
not with water alone
but with water and blood,
and it is the Spirit that bears witness,
for the Spirit is Truth.
So there are three witnesses,
the Spirit, water and blood;
and the three of them coincide.
If we accept
     the testimony of human witnesses,
God’s testimony is greater,
for this is God’s testimony
which he gave about his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within him,
and whoever does not believe
is making God a liar,
because he has not believed
the testimony
    God has given about his Son.
This is the testimony:
God has given us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life,
and whoever has not the Son of God
    has not life.
I have written this to you
who believe
    in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know
     that you have eternal life.

   

 Psalm 147: 12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem,
Zion, praise your God.

For he gives strength to the bars of your gates,
he blesses your children within you,
he maintains the peace of your frontiers,
gives you your fill of finest wheat.

He sends his word to the earth,
his command runs quickly,

He reveals his word to Jacob,
his statutes and judgements to Israel.
For no other nation has he done this,
no other has known his judgements.

   

Luke 5: 12-16

Now it happened that Jesus was in one of the towns when suddenly a man appeared, covered with a skin-disease. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him saying, 'Sir, if you are willing you can cleanse me.' He stretched out his hand, and touched him saying, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.' At once the skin-disease left him. He ordered him to tell no one, 'But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your cleansing just as Moses prescribed, as evidence to them.' But the news of him kept spreading, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their illnesses cured, but he would go off to some deserted place and pray.

   

                R. The man wanted to be made clean —

                He willed it —

                Even our bodies are a mystery —

                God is with us now

                Guiding Light

                God is a God of miracles —

                It is we who give into satan
                    and do not believe, when we
                    should.

                God sent His only Son in the world —

                God loves us so much —

                It is our choice — Life or Death

                We have a free will

                Jesus:  I have outpoured My richest
                    blessing on you —
                    You seek perishable things and
                    are left empty.

    

Excerpt from the Spirituality Handbook
 

An Overview of the Spiritual Life

The Christian life is rooted in the great event of the Incarnation. We must consequently always focus our gaze upon Christ, realizing that everything the Father wishes to tell us has been summed up in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It only remains for us, then, to strive to understand with greater insight the inexhaustible truth of the Word Incarnate: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, Whom He appointed the heir of all things, through Whom also He created the world." (Heb. 1: 1-2) (1)

What was the condition of the human race at the time of Christ's coming? In some ways, people were much the same as we are today. There were those just being born into this world of human drama. There were those who, in death, were leaving it, some of whom had grasped but little of life's meaning. There were those who were healthy and vigorous. There were those who were sick and lame. Some especially felt the burdens, the grief, the suffering of the human condition. Others were ebullient and desired all the pleasures life could provide. There was some good being accomplished. Immorality, however, was rampant. What St. Paul tells us concerning the time that immediately followed Christ's existence certainly could also be applied to the time of His entrance into the world. It is, in short, an ugly picture that St. Paul depicts for us (Rom. 1: 22-32).

Into such a depraved condition Jesus entered, with a full and generous Heart, to lead the human race from the depths of sinfulness to the vibrant richness of a new life in Himself. Through His enfleshment, this Christ became the focal point of all history. The authentic hopes and dreams of the human family, now so overshadowed by the ugliness of sin, came converging upon this Christ. He would gather them up in Himself, give them a new luster and brilliance and dynamism, and would lead the human family back to the Father in the Holy Spirit.

Christ was radically to release us from the dominion of sin and elevate us to a new level of existence. This life Christ has given us is not a type of superstructure which is erected atop human existence. Although nature and grace are distinct, they do not lie side by side as separate entities. Rather, grace permeates nature. The Christian is one graced person. The Christian is one who has been raised up, caught up, into a deeper form of life in Christ Jesus. Nothing that is authentically human in the life of the Christian has been excluded from this new existence. Whatever is really human in the life of the Christian is meant to be an expression of the Christ-life. The simple but deep joys of family life, the wonderment at nature's beauty, the warm embrace of a mother for her child, the agony of crucial decision making, the success or frustration that is experienced in one's work, the joy of being well received by others, and the heartache of being misunderstood--all these experiences are intended to be caught up in Christ and made more deeply human because of Him.

Jesus has come, then, not to destroy anything that is authentically human, but to perfect it by leading it to a graced fulfillment. This is the meaning of the Word's becoming flesh, the meaning of the Incarnation. The more God-like we become through Christ, the more human we become.

We, through our incorporation into Christ which occurs at Baptism, are meant to relive the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In doing so, we are not only accomplishing our own salvation, but we are assisting in the salvation of others also. The Incarnation continues all the time. Christ, of course, is the one Who fundamentally continues the Incarnation. But He enlists our help. The world no longer sees Jesus, no longer is able to reach out and touch Him. We are the ones who now, in some way, make Christ visible and tangible. In union with the invisible, glorified Christ, and depending on Him as our source of life, we continue the Incarnation in its visible and temporal dimensions. This is our great privilege. This is our great responsibility.

The Christian is initiated into the mystery of Christ, into his or her role in prolonging the Incarnation, through Baptism. In the words of St. Paul: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6: 3-4).

It is not sufficient, however, that we be incorporated into Christ through Baptism. All forms of life require nourishment. So, too, our life in Christ must be continually nourished. How can we continually keep in contact with Christ? There are various ways. We contact Christ in a most special way through the liturgy, above all in the Eucharistic liturgy. Here the entire course of salvation history, as centered in Jesus, is sacramentally renewed and continued. Through our most special and most personal meeting with Jesus in the Mass, we are more deeply incorporated into Christ. Also, we should remember that all the sacraments make up part of the Church's liturgy.

The reading of Scripture provides another special opportunity for meeting Jesus. This is true for both Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament prefigures the New Testament and leads to it. It is obvious, however, that we meet Christ especially in the pages of the New Testament. How true it is to say that not to be familiar with Scripture is not to know Jesus properly. We should resolve to read from Scripture daily.

We also meet Jesus in our interaction with others. Everyone we meet, everyone we serve, is in the image of Jesus. We have to take the means to grow in this awareness. If I truly believe that everyone has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, how should I treat everyone?

These, then, are some of the ways we keep in contact with Jesus. Common to the various ways of meeting Jesus is a certain degree of prayerful reflection. Our contact with Jesus in the liturgy, in Scripture, and in our interaction with others, and so forth, will not be all that it should be unless we are persons of prayer. The light and strength of prayer enables us to keep in contact with Jesus as we should.

We live out our Christ-life in an atmosphere of love. Indeed, the life Jesus has given us is centered in love. It has its origins in the mysterious love of God: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3: 16).

Our new life in Jesus has arisen out of God's fathomless love. Christ, in His descent into human flesh, has established a milieu of love. The life He came to give can flourish only in the framework of love. Indeed, we can summarize the meaning of the Christian life by stating that it is our loving response to God's love. The pierced Heart of Jesus, this Heart which shed its last drop of blood in the greatest love for each one of us, is the symbol of God's tremendous love for us. Christ's Heart also calls us to respond by giving ourselves in love to God and neighbor. Yes, Jesus invites us to respond to God's love by giving ourselves in love to Him in an ever closer union. The more closely we are united to Him, the greater is our capacity to love God and neighbor. The more closely we are united with Jesus, the more closely He unites us to the Father in the Holy Spirit, with Mary our Mother at our side.

end of excerpt from Spirituality Handbook

 

1 John 5: 14-21

Our fearlessness towards him
    consists in this,
that if we ask anything
     in accordance with his will
he hears us.
And if we know
     that he listens to whatever we ask him,
we know that we already possess
     whatever we have asked of him.
If anyone sees his brother commit a sin
that is not a deadly sin,
he has only to pray,
    and God will give life to this brother
—provided that it is not a deadly sin.
There is sin that leads to death
and I am not saying
    you must pray about that.
Every kind of wickedness is sin,
but not all sin leads to death.

We are well aware
    that no one who is a child of God sins,
because he who was born from God
    protects him,
and the Evil One has no hold over him.
We are well aware that we are from God,
and the whole world
    is in the power of the Evil One.
We are well aware also
     that the Son of God has come,
and has given us understanding
so that we may know
     the One who is true.
We are in the One who is true
as we are in his Son, Jesus Christ.
He is the true God
and this is eternal life.
Children, be on your guard
    against false gods.

 

John 3: 22-30

After this, Jesus went with his disciples into the Judaean countryside and stayed with them there and baptised. John also was baptising at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water, and people were going there and were being baptised. For John had not yet been put in prison. 

    Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew about purification, so they went to John and said, ‘Rabbi, the man who was with you on the far side of the Jordan, the man to whom you bore witness, is baptising now, and everyone is going to him.’ John replied: 

    ‘No one can have anything 
    except what is given him from heaven. 

‘You yourselves can bear me out. I said, "I am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent to go in front of him." 

    ‘It is the bridegroom who has the bride; 
    and yet the bridegroom’s friend, 
    who stands there and listens to him, 
    is filled with joy at the bridegroom’s voice. 
    This is the joy I feel, and it is complete. 
    He must grow greater, 
    I must grow less. 
 

Hebrews 1: 1-6

At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the ages. He is the reflection of God's glory and bears the impress of God's own being, sustaining all things by his powerful command; and now that he has purged sins away, he has taken his seat at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.

To which of the angels, then, has God ever said:

    You are my Son, today I have fathered you,

or:

    I shall be a father to him and he a son to me?

Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says:

    Let all the angels of God pay him homage.

 

                Jesus' call to us now —

                Leave what you have and follow Me

     

Seek True Treasures

February 17, 1994 5:30 a.m.Picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Jesus: My little ones, how are you doing? Are you getting bogged down in this weather? Do you know yet that you do not control the elements? You live every day and you think you have much to do to control your actions but you do not see the eyes of Him Who watches over you with loving care.

I give to you this earth and all you need to sustain your life here. Man worries about the earth and if this or that will happen. Man has become so independent that he thinks he controls all things and he needs to worry about his present and future.

You, My favored, chosen ones, know that life here lasts but a moment and like smoke it is gone without a trace. Look at your ancestors. So few people ever remember their ancestors, yet your ancestors thought that at every moment their actions were so crucial. Little ones, you hold on to life. You hold on to these little happenings here and you worry in vain! Look at the big picture, My little ones. Here today, gone tomorrow, and where are you going?

The days go by with such speed. "Oh," you say, "Where have the years gone?" You think every second is so important. You worry, you fret, you wander empty roads and I watch you. I see you with your emphasis on the moment. You are being deceived, My little ones. It is in seeing the moment as part of eternity that you really know what is going on. Each moment you live, you are the teacher about the God Who dwells in your breast. Each moment you live, you are My messenger to this cold, scared world. Nothing you do means anything except as you are serving Me.

Take off your glasses. Behold the life above. See every moment as a drop of the life to come. See every moment as part of eternity. All these drops together make up your pass into My kingdom.

You worry, you wonder, you fret, you hold on. I give you a toothache, I take it away. One second and a toothache is gone. Is that not how it is with life--one second and it is gone? Oh, how those little precious moments seem to die away and you scarce can remember what happened! Yet during people's lives those moments seem earth-shattering. Those moments are yesterday's forgotten memories. You hold on, you fret, you fume and I watch you let go of each moment, only to become forgotten by today.

Store up your moments as part of eternity. Every moment here is part of your pass to My kingdom. How are you living this moment? Is it used to give service to Me and preach My gospel? Are you making all your moments count towards your eternity? Each moment is but a breath and it is gone. Did you use the moment I gave you to do My work? This time is not yours. I can snatch your moments away in one breath. It matters, My children, only as you choose to serve Me and spread My love!

If everyone had God as their primary goal, what love you would possess. What power you would know, because God is the mightiest force. I have all the power. Other power is false power!

Do you get it yet? Do you think anything you hold on to is so precious here? Here today, gone tomorrow, and I snatch you from your seats and you never return to finish what you deemed so important.

Are you comprehending My words here? The body is but an instrument to get you around. Reach with the spirit within. Live from the soul. Communicate with Me in your soul. Look for the unseen world that surrounds you constantly. Die to yourself.

You have a soul at this very moment that is a vibrant spiritual force alive within you. Live from your soul, My little ones. Focus on your soul. Live from your heart. Do not fret and fume for the things of this world. Here today, gone tomorrow, and then forgotten. Today's moments, yesterday's forgotten treasures. Do they mean so much or do you forget what seemed so important?

Reach with the soul. Live for God. Each moment is your chance to store up treasures for eternity. They will never be forgotten. What you do to help others to know Me will never be forgotten. How you loved will never be forgotten. How you gave lives on in those you touched. Your love is like a bubbling brook. It bubbles and keeps on bubbling. Your selfishness dies the moment after you live it.

Love is the force. Love is the power that reflects the God above. Love is not selfish. Love does not demand its own way. Love gives and doesn't stop giving. On the day of judgment it will be found in the hearts of those you touched. Think of only yourself and watch your moments become yesterday's forgotten moments. Love your brothers and watch the world reflect the love you gave, from now to the end.

Love or selfishness? I call you to love. I call you to plant a seed that grows into a mighty oak. Plant My seeds of love. Ask not how you can attain your goal but how you can fulfill the goal of God. Love God, love one another. Too simple, too hard for many.

Love, children. Reflect the God Who dwells within your soul. Store up your moments forever lest they become yesterday's forgotten treasure.

Like ripples on a pond, your love never dies. It reaches on and on and goes into the moments of eternity. Love is lasting. Love never dies. Love God, love one another. Die to yourself and live.

end of excerpt

   

                Sing: Come to the Water

 

1 John 5: 1-9

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ 
is a child of God, 
and whoever loves the father 
loves the son. 
In this way we know 
    that we love God’s children, 
when we love God 
    and keep his commandments. 
This is what the love of God is: 
keeping his commandments. 
Nor are his commandments 
    burdensome, 
because every child of God 
overcomes the world. 
And this is the victory 
    that has overcome the world—
our faith.

Who can overcome the world
but the one who believes
    that Jesus is the Son of God?
He it is who came by water and blood,
Jesus Christ,
not with water alone
but with water and blood,
and it is the Spirit that bears witness,
for the Spirit is Truth.
So there are three witnesses,
the Spirit, water and blood;
and the three of them coincide.
If we accept
     the testimony of human witnesses,
God’s testimony is greater,
for this is God’s testimony
which he gave about his Son.

 

Mark 1: 7-11

In the course of his preaching he said, ‘After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. And at once, as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

    

 

 

Baptism of the Lord
 

January 13, 2008

INTRODUCTION

The words of the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading go back 500 years before Christ.  This passage was intended for the Jews who were in exile in Babylon.  God is, through the prophet, introducing a person referred to only as God’s servant to his people.  God is quite pleased with his servant. In a non-violent way, God's servant will establish justice in the world, be a light to the nations and liberation for captives.  Scholars debate who this servant might have been 500 years before Christ, but with the coming of Christ, there is no doubt who is God's perfect servant.  At Jesus’ baptism, God introduces Jesus to the world, not just as his servant, but as his beloved Son with whom he is well-pleased.

 

HOMILY

If you struggle to understand the baptism of Jesus, you’re not alone.  Even John the Baptist had difficulty understanding why Jesus came to him for baptism.  As John said “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” 

 

The baptism of Jesus is a mystery worthy of our contemplation.  Certainly Pope John Paul considered it as something worth meditating on when he made it one of the mysteries in the new set of mysteries he created for the rosary: the luminous mysteries or the mysteries of light. 

 

Our business manager, Carol Roosa, is taking a course at the Athenaeum to become a parish administrator.  She had to present a paper last week and the topic was baptism.  The professor was quite impressed with it and so she volunteered to preach this Sunday.  I said “no.”  She said it would only take an hour and fifteen minutes.  You would be happy to know I stood my ground.  Besides, only priests and deacons are allowed to do a homily.  I say all of this to illustrate there is so much that could be said about baptism.  I’m not going to say it all.  My few words today will, I hope, throw a little light on the sacrament of baptism and might help make the baptism of Jesus a little more understandable. 

 

First I want to point out one way in which the baptism of Jesus by John was totally different from our sacrament of baptism.  Then I want to mention one way in which they are similar. 

 

If I were to ask the average Catholic what do you think of when you hear the word baptism, most would answer, “Baptism takes away original sin.” That’s true but there is a better answer.  Let me illustrate.  (show wallet)  Now many of you know what this is: a wallet.  And it’s empty, and some of you might relate to that too.  That’s basically what original sin is.  It is emptiness, like this wallet.  It’s a big nothing.  We are empty of God’s grace and life.  Suppose, for example, by some unbelievable odds, I would win a million dollars in the lottery.  I would get that big check (less taxes) and put it in the wallet.  If someone were to ask me, “what’s in your wallet?,”  I don’t know what I would tell them, but I don’t think I would answer “the emptiness in my wallet is gone.”  But that’s what we say when we define baptism as the sacrament that takes away original sin.  That definition only emphasizes the emptiness and not the fullness.  It doesn’t reflect the blessings that suddenly fill us at baptism: the blessings of God’s life, of being children of God, the blessings of the Holy Spirit, the blessing of belonging to the family of God, the blessing and hope of sharing in eternal happiness with God.  In Jesus there was no emptiness.  In him dwells the fullness of the divinity (Col. 2,9) as St. Paul tells us.  He was, from all eternity, God’s beloved Son.  Jesus had no need of baptism in any form. In this respect Jesus’ baptism by John made no change in him as the sacrament of baptism did for us.  Jesus baptism by John provides an occasion for us to reflect on our own baptism and the grace that it brought us. 

 

Now I want to describe one way in which Jesus’ baptism by John and the sacrament of baptism we received are similar.  They are similar in that they are both a commitment.  John’s baptism was a public commitment people made to live holy lives and to prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom.  Jesus, in being baptized, was publicly committing himself to do God’s will and to preach and build the kingdom of God.  Baptism is that for us too.  We are committed in a public event to belong to God, to be God’s obedient child, God’s lover, God’s representative.  It’s something like declaring one’s candidacy, not for public office, but for the office of Christian in the world.  Most likely someone made that commitment for us, most probably our parents.  They made that commitment for us with the intention of directing us in God’s ways.  Eventually, we have to make that commitment our own if our baptism is going to mean anything at all.  On this feast of the baptism of Jesus, we have a good opportunity to recommit ourselves to Jesus. The effects and blessings of baptism remain with us as long as we do not turn our hearts away from the Father who long ago chose us to be his son or daughter in the sacrament.  In this way Jesus’ baptism by John is very much like our own, not a private, secret event but a public, open declaration of our commitment to love and serve God and others as Jesus, the perfect Son of God did.  Amen.  

   

                Sing: Here I Am Lord

  

1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20

Foods are for the stomach, and the stomach is for foods; and God will destroy them both. But the body is not for sexual immorality; it is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. God raised up the Lord and he will raise us up too by his power. Do you not realise that your bodies are members of Christ’s body; do you think one can take parts of Christ’s body and join them to the body of a prostitute? Out of the question!

But anyone who attaches himself to the Lord is one spirit with him.

    Keep away from sexual immorality. All other sins that people may commit are done outside the body; but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God? You are not your own property, then; you have been bought at a price. So use your body for the glory of God.

   

                Say "Here I Am Lord"

                        "I want to do Your Will"

John 1: 35-42

The next day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Jesus went past, and John looked towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God.'And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, 'What do you want?' They answered, 'Rabbi' - which means Teacher - 'where do you live?' He replied, 'Come and see'; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.

    One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and say to him, 'We have found the Messiah' - which means the Christ - and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas' - which means Rock.

 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

 

Jonah 3: 1-5, 10

The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second time. 'Up!' he said, 'Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to it as I shall tell you.' Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare; to cross it took three days. Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city and then proclaimed, 'Only forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown.' And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least.

God saw their efforts to renounce their evil ways. And God relented about the disaster which he had threatened to bring on them, and did not bring it.

    

                Jesus has sent us as fishers of men —

                Men who fish don't sit in the boat and
                    do nothing

                They are actors

                Not sitting on a pity-pot

                Not waiting for personal glory —

                Christ came

                took flesh and

                He died for our sins

                He loves us so much

                Follow His footsteps

                we were created in the
                    image and likeness of
                    God  

  

 

I Will Teach You Mighty Lessons (excerpt)

March 28, 1994

Jesus: I am dealing with you directly every minute of every day. My hand is in all you experience. I allow all that happens to you. You are My beloved ones.

I am the teacher. You are My pupil. You go to My school to learn your lessons. I give you the tests you need to learn the lessons. I am Jesus. I love you so sweetly. You do not even comprehend a little of My love.

Trust in Me and Me alone. I am with you at this moment. Come and sit with Me in front of the tabernacle and after Communion.

I am Jesus, Son of the Living God.

end of excerpt

  

 

Your Bridegroom Waits for You

February 11, 1994 4:00 a.m.

Jesus: What does it take to shake you in your comfort zone? Who will get the message to you? I am Jesus. I am God. God has all the power. Do you pray now in your idleness with this weather or do you busy your mind with more senseless tasks?

Oh, what do you need to turn you from your ways? I come and dwell in your midst and you ignore Me and look for other things to fill the weary soul.

Man, nothing fills your soul. I and I alone am what you seek. You look in all the wrong places and I wait for you in the tabernacle. If you knew of this unseen world! But you are blind and dumb and stay centered as if in a tunnel.

Pray for your sick brothers. They have been blinded by the world and numbed by the TV. Their hearts are cold and their heads are hot. Oh, what a sad state! Pray for them lest they lose their souls. This world is full of evil. Come to Me. Sit in silence and know My love. I am your refuge.

In My church, in front of My tabernacle, there is such peace and joy. I am your King. I am your God. I am your Lord. I am Who am. I am your all. Little ones, little ones, I lament the loss of your love. Come to Me and be wrapped in My arms. I love you. Alleluia

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has ready for those who Love Him.

Promote yourself? Where do you go when your life is done? You flunk the test when you see yourself as the end. Die to yourself and you will possess life eternal.

I love you so. Such pride, such arrogance! Who do they think they are? They think they are their own gods. This is against the First Commandment.

In all things, turn your lives to God. Give Him full reign. You possess the choice to inherit a kingdom! Oh, such blindness! I love you in all your blindness, just the same. Pray for your brothers that the light of Christ might shine through you and touch their cold hearts.

Be as My saints, holy and untainted. Hold tight to My kingdom. It is at hand and you are its rightful heirs. Alleluia.

R. Jesus, tuck me into the recesses of Your heart and let me live in there with You in Your heart. Swallow me up in a little pocket. I love You so!

I give You my mind. I give You my body. I give You my soul. I am wed to You, my entirety to be Your spouse. I want to be the bride of Jesus Christ. My soul must be as white as the brightest white for such a king. I give myself to You, body and soul. I want to be Your saint. I want to do Your will and Your will alone. I want to be totally united with You in all my thoughts. I want to be pure just for You. Bless me and all those I touch.

I remain in You, ever to do Your work. I am Your temple and You dwell within me with such holiness! I approach the altar of Jesus and behold my beloved. I say to You, "Lord, Thy will be done," yet, when the going gets rough, I do my own will. Let me constantly be connected to You, Jesus, that with every beat of my heart I may never shame You in my thoughts or actions, that I do Thy will directly as I am prompted to do. I love You and You are my beloved. Alleluia.

I have committed myself to the King and I am an heir to the kingdom. It is in this constant walk of faith that I come into His presence, constantly committing my will to do His so only that which is of Him will flow from my soul.

Alleluia. Praise Him, holiest in the heights, for He is all powerful and He sets my feet on solid ground. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened unto you. Make ready your hearts for Him, the King of Glory. He is worthy of such honor. He is God. Alleluia.

end of excerpt

   

Prayer for Union with Jesus

    Come to me, Lord, and possess my soul. Come into my heart and permeate my soul. Help me to sit in silence with You and let You work in my heart.

    I am Yours to possess. I am Yours to use. I want to be selfless and only exist in You. Help me to spoon out all that is me and be an empty vessel ready to be filled by You. Help me to die to myself and live only for You. Use me as You will. Let me never draw my attention back to myself. I only want to operate as You do, dwelling within me.

    I am Yours, Lord. I want to have my life in You. I want to do the will of the Father. Give me the strength to put aside the world and let You operate my very being. Help me to act as You desire. Strengthen me against the distractions of the devil to take me from Your work.

    When I worry, I have taken my focus off of You and placed it on myself. Help me not to give in to the promptings of others to change what in my heart You are making very clear to me. I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Come and dwell in me now.

-God's Blue Book, January 17, 1994

   

 

 

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