- In today’s Gospel passage Jn 1:29-34, the figure of John the Baptist appears once again almost as if to send us back to Advent…to look carefully at the evidence of the Baptizer and of Jesus, and to make some decisions about our own lives. John’s gospel text shows no knowledge of the tradition about the kinship of Jesus and John the Baptist. In this Gospel passage, John’s baptism is not connected with forgiveness of sins; its purpose is revelatory, that Jesus may be made known to Israel. For John, a simple chronicle of events is never enough; the important thing is that events excite a personal testimony about Jesus.
The evangelist John is very intent on counteracting a movement that regarded John the Baptist as superior to Jesus. He does not narrate the baptism event; instead, he puts the meaning of the baptism into John the Baptist’s testimony. He has the Baptizer publicly profess “The reason why I came…was that Jesus might be made known.”
Baptism gives us the grace of giving witness, and sometimes that might lead to the ultimate witness of laying down our very lives because we are associated with and marked by Jesus Christ. The era of martyrdom is not something of the past. It is still taking place today. In fact, the last century was one of incredible Christian martyrdom.
As Christians, we enter the Second Week of Ordinary Time and recalled that after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in bodily form like a dove and he heard the voice from heaven: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased”, Jesus was led by the Spirit to the desert for forty days and then back home to Nazareth where began his public ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Just as the Spirit called Jesus to new ministry, so now the Spirit was calling his disciples and all of us. Some would be called to proclaim the Good News beyond their local communities and others would be called to serve local communities in various roles. But all calls all came from the same source, the Spirit.
- This coming Friday, January 24, a “March for Life” will be held in Washington D.C. and was the forty-seventh anniversary of the U. S. Supreme Court Decision Roe v. Wade. The Bishops of our nation have asked all Catholics to fast and do extra penance as small reparation for the millions of abortions committed in our country, and for the legal approval of these actions.
While, we Christians can and ought to build a pro-life culture through many avenues, and not only through changes in law, it remains the case that as Christians and as Americans, “in God we trust”. God expects us to make needed changes in our world, but we can only do so through God’s truth and grace.
A word of “Thanks” to the Justice, Peace and Life Committee at St. Gabriel and Prince of Peace who has shared information and encouraged us to attend the “Mass for Life” on Tuesday, January 21 with the many Catholics at either: Sacred Heart Parish in Lacey or St. Michael in Olympia; afterward, attending the “march” at state capital in Olympia and quality time in talking and sharing with our local Representatives.
- A word of thanks to Mary Ellen Donnelly who speaks at all the Masses this weekend at St. Gabriel about the joy and happiness that many people have and continue to experience through the help of C.S. (Catholic Community Services) in the local office here in Kitsap County. Also, many thanks to everyone who had contributed, financially, to the effort of C.C.S. work.
- HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR 2020 (Chinese New Year 4718) … So, if you have a friend who is Vietnamese, Chinese or other Asian Cultures who celebrate Lunar New Year; the year of the Rat will be Saturday, January 25, 2020. Please wish him/her a Happy, Good Health and Prosperous New Year. Lunar New Year can be anywhere between mid-January to mid-February every year.
Fr. Phuong Hoang