11 Jan 2020

This Week Letter – January 12, 2020

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The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Here is my servant whom I uphold,

my chosen one with whom I am pleased,

upon whom I have put my spirit;

he shall bring forth justice to the nations… (Is 42:1)


We celebrate the Baptism of the Lord today, the feast which ends the Christmas Season. In the first reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah, we hear the announcement of the mission of the Messiah who, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power, brings justice to the people. Saint John wrote about this in his letter quoted throughout the readings of the past week, and they can be summarized by these words: “Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.  Whoever is without love does not know God, because God is love.”(1 Jn 4: 7-8)” There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. … “(1 Jn 4: 17-18)
The Holy Spirit brings internal freedom, and this is a new law that God wants to instill in us. However, he must be allowed to. Love requires voluntary commitment and trust. It must be accepted as a gift and returned in full freedom. Baptism is the gateway to this freedom.  There is a close relationship between the Baptism of Christ and our Baptism.

“At the Jordan the heavens opened to indicate that the Savior has opened the way to salvation and we can travel it, thanks to our own new birth “of water and Spirit” (Jn 3: 5), the essence of Baptism. There, on this occasion, the mystery of the Holy Trinity was revealed in a clear and complete way for the first time. In Baptism we are inducted into the Mystical Body of Christ, that is, the Church; we die and rise with him, we are enfolded by him, as the Apostle Paul often emphasized (cf. I Cor 12: 13; Rom 6: 3-5; Gal 3: 27). Baptism, then, requires us “to listen” to Jesus:  to believe in him and humbly follow him, fulfilling his will. In this way everyone can strive for holiness, a goal that, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, “constitutes the vocation of all the baptized.” (Benedict 16, Angelus: Jan 7, 2007)
So, this is our plan of action: start to listen to His Word, with a goal toward holiness or perfect love, accomplished through humble service to our brothers and sisters, in order that everyone might recognize the power of the Spirit of  Love working in us, and thus attain salvation.  This is possible; only perseverance is needed: “Whoever diligently considers and perseveres in perfect law, the Law of Freedom, and is not a listener who forgets, but a doer who acts, such a one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25)

Roman Harmata, PA