Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps 29:1-4, 3, 9-10; Mark 1:7-11
Now our Sunday liturgy makes a great leap. In the last few weeks we have celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. After his presentation in the Jerusalem temple and his visit to the temple with his parents when Jesus was 12 years old, we have no other knowledge of him until his baptism in the Jordan river about 30 years later as he began his public ministry. Jesus did not need to be baptized for conversion and repentance of his own sins, since he had none, as we all have.
It may be helpful for us to go to the beginning of all four Gospels and read the account of Jesus’ baptism and who was there. The sky was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and his Father spoke: "You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased." (Mk 1:11) Then Jesus went into the desert for 40 days. He returned to the Galilee area and the first disciples of John the Baptist left him and went off with Jesus. They were John and Andrew, see John 1:35ff.
Jesus Christ is the Son of our God our Father. What did Jesus do as he began his public ministry? Until Lent begins in a few weeks, the daily gospels are taken from the early chapters of St. Mark’s Gospel. Jesus was sharing God’s love for people by healing thousands and preaching. The first four disciples were two pairs of fisherman. When invited to follow Jesus, they left the fishing business and went to follow him.
Your grown-up commitment
Most of you reading these words were baptized as babies. Your parents made a commitment for you, which was temporary. Now as an adult you must make your own decision to follow Jesus. St. John the Baptist pointed Jesus out saying: "Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36) The first disciples asked where Jesus was staying. Jesus invited them to "come and see." They did and joined Jesus. He formed them and eventually sent them out to tell others, to be evangelists.
I left my family lumber business to follow Jesus. Do you want to follow Jesus? If you are married, work and have children, that doesn’t mean you leave them; that is your vocation. The question is: how can you get closer to Jesus each day? Jesus teaches you, excites you and fills you with his light and love. As you live in the world, Christ’s light shines out of you. Come, read the gospels, pray and then be a "radiant light" for Jesus right where you live and work. From Christ’s torch, to your little light, shine out to brighten the darkness of this world.
Bless your home
If you did not bless your home with the Epiphany blessing last week, please do it now. Use some holy water, light a candle and a stick of incense, if you have one, and with a piece of soft chalk put the inscription over the top of the door frame of the main entrance of your residence: 20+C+M+B+15, saying this prayer. "Father, please bless my dwelling place with goodness, humility, self-control, purity, mutual respect for one another, hospitality for strangers and a loving obedience to your Word for those living here and all those who will visit here this year. I pray in Jesus’ Name as we worship him, Emmanuel, our God always with us." Now you can sprinkle your home with holy water and mark the top doorframe of your main entrance. I think we want all of God’s blessings each day.
Love and Blessings,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz.
(© 2015 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)