Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (this year January 13, the first Sunday after the Epiphany) marks the official close of "Christmas season." The commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord is the manifestation of God's "chosen Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!" Those words to the crowds witnessing the baptism of the Lord by John the Baptist are to be hallmark words for us to hear.
Every time we celebrate the sacramental rite of Baptism we are reminded to hear those words. For each and everyone of us is called to hear that we are chosen as God's sons and daughters, that God is well pleased with us and that we have words of divine love to share with each other and those in our world.
You see, baptism is our call to be missionaries of the Lord's love to our broken world. How do we do that? By following the commitment made for us when we were infants or children, and that we renew each time we celebrate this sacrament. Listen to the words of the Church:
How do we do this? By continuing in the apostles' teachings, by our fellowship with each other, by participating frequently in the breaking of the bread (communion service) and in daily prayer.
How do we do this? By persevering in resisting evil, when we fall short of that mark, by repenting and returning to the Lord.
How do we do this? By proclaiming the word of God and by the example of how we live the Good News of God in Christ our Savior.
How do we do this? By seeking and serving Christ in all persons (not just those we like), loving our neighbor as ourselves (think Good Samaritan story)!
How do we do this? By striving for justice and peace among all people and respecting the dignity of every human being (especially those who are different from us)!
But we can only do this by how we respond in our baptismal covenant:
"I WILL, WITH GOD'S HELP."
Only in God can we accomplish this and when we put the Lord at the center of our lives then by God we can accomplish more than we can ask or imagine.
Fr. Denis +