As we begin what is called “Ordinary Time” in the Church calendar let’s be clear that it is really anything but ordinary. During the Advent and Christmas Season, we prepared for the Nativity of Our Lord and then celebrated His birth and the announcements to the world of His presence culminating with the visit of the Magi last Sunday. The day before “Ordinary Time” begins is the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus and it is the last celebration of the liturgical year before Ash Wednesday. Since Jesus was never burdened by Original Sin what’s the significance of His baptism? When we receive the sacrament of baptism the water symbolically cleanses our soul of Original Sin while the grace of the Holy Spirit actually effects the removal of sin and the spiritualization of our soul to begin living a life of grace. The ‘baptism’ of Jesus in the River Jordan represents the institution of the sacrament of Baptism by which He used water representing the cleansing of the soul and the coming down of the Holy Spirit upon Him representing the infusion of grace which are two of the elements of the sacrament given the Church as the means by which we become identified as a follower of Christ. John the Baptist said he only baptized with water and that “there is One Who comes after me who is mightier than I am…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16) It is fitting that Ordinary Time begins with His baptism since the readings of the weeks following trace His public ministry up to and through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. If you participate in the daily celebration of the Eucharist you will hear these readings, but if you aren’t able to attend daily Liturgies during Lent, please take the time to read the daily scriptures which can be found at www.usccb.org to help prepare you for the great Paschal mysteries. It is through the Word of God that we learn to know Him, love Him and serve Him and the richness and beauty of this incredible gift of Catholic faith we have received comes to full fruition. I encourage you to make this simple resolution for Lent: “I will take the time to visit the USCCB website and read the daily scriptures every day throughout Lent.” It takes less than five minutes and will make a difference in your life! Please continue to pray for all the clergy and members of our parish as Father Martin and I do for you each day. Thank you for your commitment to our Mission.
Pastor’s Points is a bi-weekly feature about faith, family, and life, from our pastor, Father James Flynn. It is published in our parish bulletins, as well.