Monday, January 9, 2012

Feast of The Baptism of the Lord

Feast* of  
 The Baptism of the Lord 
*(Where the Solemnity of the Epiphany is transferred to Sunday, if this Sunday occurs on Jan 7 or 8,
the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the following Monday.)

"Jesus comes out of the water, drawing the world with Him and raising it up when it had hitherto been sunk in the abyss... Here all is in perfect harmony, for the testimony comes from heaven, just as He to whom the Spirit bears witness has come down from heaven." -St Gregory Nazianus

The light from the Holy Spirit appears to be falling directly into the shell being used to pour the water of baptism over Jesus' head. Instead of dipping the shell into the river, the Baptist seems to be lifting up the shell to receive in its hollow, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Anointing from above.  Likewise, in its hollow, the chalice at Mass receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Artist:  Andrea del Verrocchio).

From Tertullian's Treatise on Baptism...
a lyrical tribute to the role of water
in the whole economy of salvation.

"What favour water has with God and with His Christ!
Thus is the meaning of baptism confirmed.
Numquam sine aqua Christus!
Never does Christ appear without water!
Christ Himself is immersed in water.
Invited to the wedding feast, it is water that inaugurates the first-fruits of His power.
When He preaches, it is to invite the thirsty to His everlasting water.  When He teaches of sacrificial love (agapé), He recognizes the cup of water offered to one's neighbor as a work of love.
He rests beside a well of water.
He walks upon the waters, freely crossing over its waves.
He serves His disciples with water, by washing their feet.
These signs of baptism extend even to His Passion.
When He is condemned to the death of the cross, water appears: it is for the hands of Pilate.
When He is pierced by the soldier's lance, water gushes from His side."

You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
From today’s Liturgy:  Responsorial psalm (Isaiah 12:3)

National Vocation Awareness Week will be celebrated in the United States -  January 9-14, 2012.  Let us beseech Our Lord for more dedicated, holy priests, deacons and consecrated men and women.  May they listen attentively to the Holy Spirit,  be surely supported by their families and  faith community, and respond courageously and generously to God's gracious call and gift.

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