Chủ Nhật, 8 tháng 1, 2017

JANUARY 09, 2017 : THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

The Baptism of the Lord
Lectionary: 21

READING 1 IS 42:1-4, 6-7
Thus says 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,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
"In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him."
RESPONSORIAL PSALM PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, "Glory!"
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
ALLELUIA MK 9:7
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
GOSPEL MT 3:13-17
Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
"I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?"
Jesus said to him in reply,
"Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness."
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."


Meditation: Jesus humbly submitted to baptism by John
Why did Jesus, the Sinless One, submit himself to John's baptism at the River Jordan? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3).  In this humble submission of Jesus we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of his bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 42:1-4). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? .
Jesus' baptism - beginning of a new creation
The Father proclaimed his entire delight in his Son and spoke audibly for all to hear. The Holy Spirit, too, was present as he anointed Jesus for his ministry which began that day as he rose from the waters of the Jordan river. Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all who come to believe in him. At his baptism the heavens were opened and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, signifying the beginning of a new creation.
Heaven will open for those who bow before the Lord
How can we enter into the mystery of Jesus' humble self-abasement and baptism? Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389 AD), an early church father tells us: 
"Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him."
Do you want to see your life transformed in the likeness of Christ? And do you want to become a more effective instrument of the Gospel? Examine Jesus' humility and ask the Holy Spirit to forge this same attitude in your heart. As you do, heaven will open for you as well. 
The Holy Spirit transforms us in the likeness of Jesus
The Lord Jesus is ever ready to renew and refashion us in his likeness through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit - and he anoints us for mission as ambassadors of his kingdom of righteousness (moral goodness), peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). We are called to be the "light" and salt" of his kingdom that radiate the beauty and aroma of his mercy and goodness to those around us (Matthew 5:13,15-16). The Lord Jesus wants his love and truth to shine through us that many others may may find new life, freedom, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with his Holy Spirit that you may radiate the joy of the Gospel to those around you.
"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and with the fire of your love and goodness. May I always find joy and delight in seeking to please you in doing your will just as you have delighted in the joy of pleasing your Father and doing his will."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersJesus came to be baptized by John, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
    "John's baptism was looking toward repentance. Its purpose was to bring hearers to the point of experiencing conviction for their offenses. John, however, did not want anyone to draw the conclusion that Jesus himself also came to the Jordan to repent of his sins. So he sets this point straight from the outset by calling him both Lamb and Redeemer of all the sin that is in the world. He who is able to take away the sins of the whole world was himself without sin.
    "Jesus therefore descended to fulfill all the observances of the law, and in this context he was baptized by John in Galilee at the Jordan. But John, recognizing the Lord as his God through the Holy Spirit, declared that he was unworthy to bear his sandals. He excused himself from doing what he was directed to do, because he could not conceive that baptism was necessary for the One whom he knew had come to blot out the sins of the world. He rather pleaded that he himself ought to be baptized by Christ, saying, 'It is I who should be baptized by you, and do you come to me?' It is as if he were saying, 'I am a man. You are God. I am a sinner because I am a man. You are sinless because you are God. Why do you want to be baptized by me? I do not refuse the respect you pay me, but I am ignorant of the mystery. I baptize sinners in repentance. But you have no taint of sin. So why do you want to be baptized? Why do you want to be baptized as a sinner, who came to forgive sins?' This is what John in effect was saying to the Lord." 
(excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 12:1)
[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a "most learned and most holy man."]

FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
MONDAY, JANUARY 9, MATTHEW 3:13-17

(Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-38)

KEY VERSE: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (v 17).
TO KNOW: The baptism of Jesus is another "epiphany," or manifestation of the divine presence. During the time of Jesus the Jews practiced many kinds of water purifications such as washing before eating. Priests washed themselves before exercising any sacred function. People had to be purified with water after they touched blood, a corpse, or a tomb. John's baptism may have been related to the purifying washings of the Essenes at Qumran near the Dead Sea where John preached repentance for the coming of God's reign. The people who accepted his message came to him for baptism in anticipation for the arrival of Messiah. Christian baptism is very different from those ritual washings or cleansings, which were self-administered and could be repeated many times for repentance of sin. Christian baptism is administered to a person only once in a lifetime. At the heart of Christian baptism is the death and resurrection of Christ. The elect die to their old way of living, and then rise to a whole new way of life (Ro 6:3-5). Though Jesus was sinless and had no need to be baptized, he came to John to "fulfill all righteousness" (v 15). By submitting to baptism Jesus embraced our full humanity, entering the murky waters of human sinfulness and sanctifying it by his divine presence (2 Cor 5:21). God's favor rests on Jesus and on all God's beloved sons and daughters.
TO LOVE: Does my life give evidence of my being united with Christ and his Church?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, I reject Satan, and all his works and empty promises, so that I might live in the freedom of God's children (Renewal of Baptismal promises).

NOTE: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord brings the Christmas season to a close. Baptism forgives all sin and incorporates one in the life of the Trinity. Believers are given a share in the divine nature. In addition, baptism makes one a member of the body of Christ and of the visible manifestation of that body, the Church, and provides for us a share in the mission of Jesus. The word baptism comes from a Greek word (baptisma) which means to plunge, or to become submerged in water. Water is the main symbolic element that conveys the sacrament of baptism, along with the words: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." That triple immersing in the water symbolizes dying to the old self. Coming up out of the water corresponds to being born as a new person in Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church p.1239-40).

ORDINARY TIME

The rhythm of Ordinary Time reflects the rhythm of life — with its celebrations and its seasons of quiet growth and maturing. Ordinary Time, meaning ordered or numbered time, is celebrated in two segments: from the Monday following the Baptism of Our Lord up to Ash Wednesday; and from Pentecost Monday to the First Sunday of Advent. This makes it the longest season of the Liturgical Year. Vestments are usually green, the color of hope and growth. The Church counts the thirty-three or thirty-four Sundays of Ordinary Time, inviting us to meditate upon the whole mystery of Christ – his life, miracles and teachings – in the light of his passion, death and resurrection, the extraordinary days of our lives in Christ.​


ST. ADRIAN OF CANTERBURY

The famous Abbot of St. Augustine's in Canterbury, was likely born in Libya Cyrenaica, North Africa.
Adrian decided to become a monk early in life and eventually rose to the position of Abbot at Hiridanum (the Isle of Nisida), in the Bay of Naples. It was there that he became acquainted with the Emperor Constans II and later with Pope Vitalian.
Adrian became a valuable advisor to the pontiff and, three years later, was offered the position of Archbishop of Canterbury. He declined the papal appointment, but was persuaded to accompany Theodore to England as a trusted counselor.
After spending time in France, he arrived in Britain and immediately succeeded Benedict Biscop as Abbot of St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury. He established a flourishing monastic school, where many future bishops and abbots were educated in Latin, Greek, scripture, theology, Roman law and arithmetic.
St. Adrain died on Jan. 9 at Canterbury, Kent. Several hundred years after his death, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state.

LECTIO DIVINA: THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD (A)
Lectio Divina: 
 Sunday, January 8, 2017

The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
Matthew 3:13-17
1. OPENING PRAYER
 “We praise you, invisible Father, giver of immortality: you are the source of life, the source of light, the source of every grace and truth, lover of humankind and lover of the poor, who reconciles all with you and draw all to you through the coming of your beloved Son. Make us living people, grant us your Spirit of light so that we may know you, the true One and the One whom you sent Jesus Christ.” (Serapion’s Anaphora)
2. READING
a) Introduction:
This Gospel fragment (Mt 3:13-17) is part of a narrative section of Matthew the Evangelist, the section that introduces the public life of Jesus. After the flight into Egypt, Jesus lives in Nazareth. Now, as an adult, we find him on the banks of the river Jordan. The meeting of the two is part of the concluding section dedicated to John the Baptist. Anyone who wishes to go deeper into the personality of John and his message (Mt 3:1-12 has already been presented to us in the liturgy of the second Sunday of Advent) needs to keep in mind the whole of chapter 3 of Matthew. Our passage concentrates especially on the acknowledgement of the divinity of Christ at the time of his baptism. God the Father reveals the identity of Jesus.
B) A DIVISION OF THE TEXT AS AN AID TO ITS READING:
Matthew 3:13 : setting
Matthew 3:14-15 : dialogue John-Jesus
Matthew 3: 16-17 : epiphany/theophany
c) The text:
13 Then Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. 14 John tried to dissuade him, with the words, 'It is I who need baptism from you, and yet you come to me!' 15 But Jesus replied, 'Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that uprightness demands.' Then John gave in to him. 16 And when Jesus had been baptised he at once came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. 17 And suddenly there was a voice from heaven, 'This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.'
3. A moment of silent prayer
so that the Word of God may penetrate our hearts and enlighten our lives.
4. SOME QUESTIONS
to help us in our meditation and prayer.
a) Why does Jesus “appear” after his hidden life in Nazareth?
b) How does awareness of his identity and mission grow?
c) Have I, at some time, taken on something new in my life?
d) Who or which experience has most revealed to me my identity, vocation and mission?
e) What does the memory of my baptism mean to me?
5. MEDITATION
a) A key to the reading:
Together with a historical-chronological reading of the passage, the episode of the baptism of Jesus and his meeting with John before he begins his public life, we need to keep in mind also a symbolical reading, assisted by the Fathers of the East, a symbolism that is the framework of this liturgical season of Christmas and which concludes with the full manifestation of God as man: a synthesis of the manifestation-epiphany of the Son of God in the flesh.
b) A commentary on the text:
Mt 13: 13 The adult Jesus
After John “appears” on the scene (13:1), Jesus of Nazareth, where he spent his childhood and early youth (Mt 12:23), goes to the river Jordan. As a good Israelite, he watches the authentic religious movements that spring up among the people. He shows that he approves of the work of John and decides to be baptised with water, not, of course, to receive forgiveness for sins, but to unite himself and share fully in the expectations and hopes of all men and women. It is not humankind that goes to Him, but He who goes towards humankind, according to the logic of the incarnation.
Mt 13:14-15 the dialogue of John with Jesus
John’s attempt to prevent the baptism of Jesus is his acknowledgement of the difference between the two and an awareness of the new (the New Covenant) making its appearance. “The one who follows me… will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire… his winnowing-fan is in his hand… will clear… will gather… will burn…” (vv.11-12). Jesus’ attitude is still one of submitting to God’s saving plan (in this way, do all that righteousness demands), respecting the manner (in humility-kenosis) and the times (the time-kairos). We also see the difference between the two from their families of origin (priestly for John), from the places (Jerusalem for John, Nazareth for Jesus) from the manner of conception (a proclamation to the father, Zachary, in the old style; a proclamation to the mother, Mary), the parents’ ages (those of John old). Everything points to the passage from the old to the new. Matthew prepares the readers for the newness of the Christ: “you have heard it said, but I say to you” (Mt 5).
Mt 13:16-17 the presentation of God the Father and the Holy Spirit
In Matthew’s Gospel we have the solemn “adoration of the Magi” in acknowledgement of the royalty and divinity of Jesus. Luke also adds the acknowledgement of Elisabeth (Lk 1:42-43), of the angels (Lk 2:13-14) of the shepherds (Lk 2:20), and of the old Simeon and Anna (Lk 2:30; 28). All the Evangelists record the proclamation of the divine identity of Jesus by God the Father and the Holy Spirit present in the form of a dove. Matthew says clearly “This is” not “you are” my Son, the Beloved. Jesus is divine by nature and also the new Adam, the beginning of a new humanity reconciled with God as well as nature reconciled with God by means of Christ’s immersion in the waters. The heavens are reopened after being closed for such a long time by sin, and earth is blessed.
The descent of Christ into the waters prefigures his descent into hell and the words of the Psalmist come true (Ps 74: 13-14), he crushes the head of the foe. The Baptism not only prefigures, but inaugurates and anticipates Satan’s defeat and the liberation of Adam.
However, it will not be easy to recognise the Messiah in his weakness. John himself has some doubts when in prison, and he sends his disciples to ask “are you the one who is to come or have we got to wait for someone else?” (Mt 11:3).
6. FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO GO DEEPER INTO THE LITURGICAL AND ECUMENICAL ASPECTS
In the tradition of the Eastern churches, the Baptism of Jesus is the most important liturgical feast of the Christmas cycle. On 6 January they celebrate together the baptism, birth, visit of the Magi, the wedding feast of Cana, as one fact. Rather than the historical development of the life of Jesus, they stress his theological-saving relevance. They do not dwell on the sentimental aspect, but on the historical manifestation of God and his acknowledgement as Lord.
Cyril of Jerusalem says that Jesus gives the waters of baptism “the colour of his divinity” (III mystagogic catechesis, 1).
Gregory Naziazen writes that the creation of this world and the creation of the spiritual world, once foes, reunite in friendship, and we humans, united in one choir with the angels, partake of their praises (PG 46,599).
The descent into the waters corresponds to the descent into the bowels of the earth symbolised by the birth in a cave. The destructive waters become waters of salvation for the just.
The Old Testament readings of the liturgical Vespers recall the saving waters: the Spirit hovers over the waters at the time of creation (Gn 1), the waters of the Nile save Moses (Ex 2), the waters open for the people of Israel to go through (Ex 14), the waters of Mara become sweet (Ex 15), the waters of the Jordan open before the Arc (Jos 3), the waters of the Jordan heal Naaman the leper (2Kings 5) etc. Jesus then at the wedding feast in Cana transforms water into wine (Jn 2) as a sign that the time of salvation has come.
At this feast in the eastern liturgy, there is a tradition of blessing water in a spring or river by immersing the cross three times (the triple baptismal immersion). This recalls the prophet Isaiah: let the wilderness and the dry lands exult (Is 35:1-10), come to the water all you who are thirsty (Is 55: 1-13), draw water joyfully (Is 12:3-6).
7. PSALM 114 (113)
Alleluia!
When Israel came out of Egypt,
the House of Jacob from a people of foreign speech,
Judah became his sanctuary,
and Israel his domain.
The sea fled at the sight,
the Jordan turned back,
the mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like sheep.
Sea, what makes you flee?
Jordan, why turn back?
Why skip like rams, you mountains?
Why like sheep, you hills?
Tremble, earth, at the coming of the Lord,
at the coming of the God of Jacob,
who turns rock into pool, flint into fountain.
8. CLOSING PRAYER
Jesus, source of life, who comes to cancel Adam’s sentence, in the Jordan you killed hatred; grant us the peace that is beyond all thought. Resplendent Word sent by the Father, after you have uprooted the sins of mortals, come and dissipate the long and sad hours of the night, and by your baptism, let your children rise resplendent from the waves of the Jordan. May the human race clothe itself in white, come out of the waters as children of God and transform creation into the image of the creator. (From oriental liturgical “chants”)