Monthly Archives: January 2015
From the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus reveals to us the power of God by his words and deeds. Jesus expels the evil spirit by the authority of God – subjecting the evil one by his powerful command to come out of the man. This is one of the “signs” called miracles in the Gospels of God’s reign among us in Jesus’ presence now in our life. We strengthen the presence of Jesus in our life by choosing to have him in the first place in our heart. We listen to his voice speaking through our conscience to do what is good for God’s glory, and for the love of him, and at the same time, to avoid what is not good. The power of God begins from the internal strength of the spirit with Jesus within our soul and heart. Jesus works within us and he guides us by giving us spiritual strength- as long as Jesus is the center of our life. We nourish this life in him with the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist that give us strength to do good works for the love of God and of neighbors. These works are acts of charity and service for our neighbors and parish community. Jesus really acts and works through us.
We just celebrated the Catholic School’s week. It is important that our children grow in faith in God. This is the distinctive quality, that our Catholic Schools educate our students to see the truth of sciences in the light of faith in God as the foundation of life. Consider educating your children here in our very own Catholic School at Holy Family.
The ACTS (Adoration, Theology, Community and Service) renewal retreat for women is coming up this weekend. Consider giving time to join this powerful experience with Jesus and his love. This is a rebuilding and building of our strong faith in God and fellowship with him with one another. It is really a life giving hope of sharing the love and joy of the Gospel mentioned by Pope Francis.
Fr. Albert B. Becher
During the time of Jesus in ancient Palestine every rabbi had companions who stayed with him and followed him wherever he went. Jesus, too, had companions. They were called disciples. They sought to learn from him and lived his own kind of life: walking in his footsteps. John the Baptist had disciples who later left him and followed Jesus as soon as he introduced Jesus to them. Twelve persons were very close disciples of Jesus, and they remained his disciples all the days of their lives and never looked back. Jesus commissioned them to make disciples of all nations (Mathew 28: 19-20).
By virtue of our baptism we have been commissioned like them to continue with this mission: to make disciples of all nations. The called and mandate is to all people and not to a selected few. So all of us have been called to be disciples and mandated to make others disciples too. What is your response to this call and mandate of Jesus?
Pope Francis said in one his homilies,’’ It is sad to find watered down Christians, who are like watered wine. You can’t tell whether they are Christian or worldly.’’ ‘’It is sad to find Christians that are no longer the salt of the earth. And we know that when salt loses its flavor, it is no longer useful. Their salt has lost its flavor because they are committed to the spirit of this world. That is, they have become worldly.’’
Christ called us to become a faith-filled community that is both evangelized and is evangelizing: a community that is anxious to receive the faith and feels propelled to share it with others. He called us to be a community filled with the Holy Spirit; to live as brothers and sisters; to live a life of sharing with one another; to be a community that welcomes and loves everybody as a child of God; and to a community that believes and calls on God all the time to express her thanks and challenges to him.
‘’How then can they call on him if they have not believed in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard of him? How will they hear him unless there is someone to preach to them? And how will there be preachers if they are not sent? As scripture says: How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of the good news….faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ’’ (Romans 10: 14-17).
Our task as Christians is to make sure that everyone gets to hear the gospel of Christ. We cannot achieve this unless we are a faith-filled community that is both evangelized and evangelizing to others. We cannot have faith unless we have a personal encounter with Christ. We must be open in order to encounter him. We need to present ourselves to be evangelized, empowered and commissioned in order to proclaim the gospel of Christ. We must be one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic (missionary) church to be able to evangelized the world. To succeed in this task, we need to train ourselves, to sacrifice our time, energy and resources; we need to charge our spiritual batteries, and renew our commitment to God and become a faith-filled, vibrant, and a lively Church. The Church of Christ is not dead, it is alive and active. St. Paul said, ‘’the spirit of God is not that of timidity but of courage and self-control.’’
We need to wake up from our sleep and get ourselves charged up with the spirit of God. Let us allow the spirit of God to use us for the greater glory of God. Now is the time and not tomorrow. Give your life to Christ and you will never regret it.
SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
Today we celebrate the baptism of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This Sunday marks the end of Christmas season, and the beginning of the ordinary season in the Church’s calendar. As we all know, Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of our Lord in the person of Jesus Christ. That is, God’s self-revelation to humanity. This revelation was to the Jews first, and second, to the gentile (non-Jews), which we celebrated as epiphany, and then today at the baptism, to repentant sinners. This also means, from 25th of December till this day, we have been celebrating God’s revelation to humanity.
Baptism is the washing and cleansing of individuals, and empowering them for mission. Christ wanted to fulfil this ritual for righteousness sake, and not because he was a sinner, before the beginning of his public ministry. At his baptism, the heavens were opened, a voice spoke, and a dove descended on him. All of this happened in order to introduce him, identify him, confirm him and anoint him as the savior of the world. By his baptism, he identified with our humanity and was able to carry the burdens of our sins.
This baptism was very important to Jesus because: 1. It was a moment of decision to begin his public ministry, and submit to the will of God the father. 2. It was to infuse his divine essence into the water and ceremony of baptism to enable it to have the power to wash us clean from our sins. 3. It was a moment of approval, introduction, and assurance of his identity and mission. 4. It was a moment of conviction. 5. It was a time to equip and empower him by the Holy Spirit to begin his mission.
The implication of his baptism to us is as follows: It gives us new life in Christ Jesus; makes us sharers in his mission (priestly, prophetic, and kingly roles); it enables us to renew our baptismal promises to God, which is to reject doing evil, but accept doing good always; it opens the gates of heaven for us to enter; it empowers us for ministry in the kingdom of God; through it, we are welcomed and accepted into the kingdom of God.
Therefore, by virtue of our baptism, we have been made children of God and sharers in his mission to proclaiming the good news to the world. As we celebrate his baptism today, it reminds us of our baptism and that we are his children. Children have rights as well as responsibilities in the family. The father loves and cares for them. They too should appreciate and contribute to the welfare of the family. We share in the love and mission of our father. Baptism empowers us for this mission to love, forgive, heal, console, support one another, and to proclaim his good news.
Just as Jesus was empowered for mission at his baptism, we too have been empowered to carry on with his mission. Therefore, go spread the good news to the whole world.
THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD