Sunday, 11 January 2015 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrating that moment when Christ began His ministry in this world, as the official beginning of His works, by the baptism which He took through John the Baptist, His herald and messenger, the one sent to prepare the way for Him. This is also to set the precedent for all of us the faithful, we who have received the holy seal of baptism as the mark and sign of divine favour, our Lord’s love for us.

On this feast day, all of us should be thinking about our own baptism, and remember the day when we were baptised, be it as a young infant newly born, or as a teenager or an adult, or even in our waning years, as we made the crucial and good decision of taking up the Lord’s cross and chose to follow Him as His disciples. We should all remember that day, when we are brought to the presence of God, and in His presence, we were sealed with the holy waters of baptism, marked as the children and possessions of our Lord.

And with that, Satan and his allies, the forces of darkness and this world no longer has power and authority over us, and they since that moment are not able to harm us anymore, for the Lord is ever before us, destroying all those who seek harm for us, His children and His beloved people. And baptism is also a pivotal moment, when our sins, the chains of the original sins of mankind, the disobedience our ancestors had shown to the Lord, are removed from us.

Sin is the tool that Satan is using to enslave us all mankind and prevent us from finding our way to the Lord. Sin is the means by which Satan tempts us to walk in his rebellious ways and turn against God, and baptism is meant to sever our connections and indeed our chains, the chains of our enslavement by sin. This is why we have to remember our own baptism, and for those among us who still seek the baptism of the Lord, then we have to put our entire heart’s focus on it. Because through baptism, we who were wicked and deserved death have been brought into the new hope of new life in Christ.

God is forever faithful and loving to us, and thus He shall never abandon us to destruction. It is we who have forsaken our Lord, who cares for us and the only One to show us true love. Therefore He made that act of love, of ultimate love, by the sending of His Son into the world, that through Him, the baptism He offers mankind, and through His loving sacrifice on the cross, the ultimate act of obedience to the will of God.

In the first reading of today from the book of the prophet Isaiah, God reaffirmed this love which He has for us, and called us back to Himself. He did not desire to punish us or to destroy us, unless if we ourselves want to be destroyed and rejected because we refused His generous offer of love, forgiveness and mercy. It was told that we should seek the Lord while we still can, and while it is not yet too late, and indeed, that is what we all ought to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us who have received the Sacrament of Baptism in the Church ought to rejoice, for it had indeed not been too late for us. We have made that solemn and crucial decision of choosing the Lord over that of Satan and the world, and we were baptised in the Faith, and became the children of God. We surely have heard of those who prefer to postpone their baptism until the last minute, that is until death is knocking at the door.

But, those who did so failed to see, that firstly, we have no control or knowledge over what our fate will be in the days, months and years to come. We know only of the past we had, and the present in which we all live in. Only God knows what we are to face, and therefore, we should not wait until it is too late. There are certainly cases of those who delayed until the last minute, and when death comes without their knowledge, sudden and unexpected, only eternal regret and suffering will remain with them forever in hell.

Therefore, on this feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are all reminded that we should take our baptism seriously. Baptism is not just a one-off event after which we have no need to be concerned anymore with it and progress on with our own respective lives. Baptism is just the beginning, brethren, that is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, the chapter of our life as the children of God and as the members of His Church.

Baptism is the beginning of our journey of faith together with God, and also together with all the members of the Church, with the Pope, the bishops and the priests, and with every single one of those who have been accepted into the Church, that is baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe that faith alone and baptism alone does not bring about salvation, as these require action and genuine effort for us to achieve it.

Baptism is like the reset button, which resets our life once again back to the zero point, and it is also like an eraser, providing us with a clean slate from which to begin anew. In the ceremony of the Sacrament of Baptism, all of us or our godparents made the profession of the Faith together and affirm our rejection of all of Satan’s lies and temptations, and this is the moment when we abandon our old lives filled with sin and embrace the new life offered by the Lord.

Yes, brethren, a life no longer filled with wanton desires, greed or selfishness, a life no longer filled by jealousy, lies and falsehoods, but from then on, from the moment of our baptism, we have a new life, a life following the teachings and the ways of our Lord, as He had revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ. This feast of His Baptism by John today is a remarkable event, when God revealed yet again to the world, the truth which He was bringing through Christ.

Why do we believe in the Holy Trinity, brothers and sisters? That is because at that baptism in the Jordan, we see the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit together as One unity, God inseparable and yet three in aspects. The Father affirms the Son, while the Son is in the world, doing the will of the Father, and the Spirit is the mover of all things. All three united in perfect harmony, and through John who witnessed all the events, He proclaimed Himself to the world.

This is God who has loved us so much that He is willing to send His own Son to us, so that we may be saved. And by that baptism we witnessed today we know that through the same baptism, we have experienced the same event of that day in the Jordan, sharing with Christ the grace of God. Just as Jesus Christ the Son received from the Lord God the Father the affirmation, that He is the Son, His Beloved, therefore all of us also share in the same kinship as Christ, being all made as the sons and daughters of God.

And now that we have been made the children of God through baptism, do we take it easy and continue to live our lives as we had lived before our baptism? Of course not! Imagine that if we live as we have lived before, with wickedness and vices, with selfishness and greed, then who will believe that we are the children of God? No one will believe that we belong to the Lord, but instead we belong to Satan and his allies, and though we have received baptism and be cleansed from our sins, but the sins we commit afterwards will be our undoing.

As long as we walk in this world, in our mortal flesh, we will always be prone and vulnerable to sin. Therefore we must be ever vigilant and be careful as we live in this world, that we sin no more or at least we must learn to restrain the urge and the temptation to sin again. It is part of the cross we have to carry as the followers of Christ, to resist the temptations of Satan. After all, brethren, remember that Christ our Lord was also tempted?

He was tempted in His humanity in every way we have been tempted, with greed, fame, power and praise, but He triumphed, to show that there is indeed a way out of sin, and that it is possible to say no to Satan and reject him. And His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection shows that sin and death does not have the final say on us mankind. All those who believe in Jesus and all of His teachings, and who accept to be baptised as He had commanded His Church to do, shall be saved and be freed from the fate of eternal death and suffering.

Now what remains is for us all to make ourselves truly worthy children of God. As I have mentioned, baptism is the new beginning for us, and from then on we have to prove that we stay faithful to the Lord. Our faith cannot be one that is passive and superficial, as faith without good works, as St. James mentioned in his epistle, is essentially dead.

Therefore today, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this feast and celebration of our Lord Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan, let us all remember our own baptism, and if we were too young to remember it, then let us all seek those who have the memories of that event, such as our godparents and parents. This is so that we can remember the promise which we or our godparents had made on our behalf, the promise of resistance and rejection of all of Satan’s falsehoods and lies.

And lastly, let today be a reminder for us all as well, that we have a duty and mission to carry out as a baptised member of the Church. Jesus before He ascended to heaven leave one last mission to His Apostles, a mission that is still ongoing even today. He commanded them to go to all the ends of the earth preaching the Good News and calling on all the peoples to repent and follow the Lord, and to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Thus, let us all begin if we have not begun, to live according to our faith and according to what we believe in Jesus. Let us all from now on walk the talk, and truly mean what we preach. No one will believe us or follow us in the way of Christ, no matter how good we preach to them, if we ourselves do not show that faith in our lives, in our words, our deeds and actions.

Hence, let us all do the will of God by showing faith in our daily actions, and through that, let us reaffirm the profession of faith we made at our baptism, rejecting Satan in all of his lies and wickedness. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 11 January 2015 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 1 : 7-11

At that time, John preached to the people, saying, “After me comes One who is more powerful than I am; I have baptised you with water, but He will baptise you in the Holy Spirit.”

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth, a town of Galilee, and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And the moment He came up out of the water, heaven opened before Him, and He saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove. And these words were heard from heaven, “You are My Son, the Beloved, the One I have chosen.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 11 January 2015 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 1-9

All those who believe that Jesus is the Anointed, are born of God; whoever loves the Father, loves the Son. How may we know that we love the children of God? If we love God and fulfill His commands, for God’s love requires us to keep His commands.

In fact, His commandments are not a burden because all those born of God overcome the world. And the victory which overcomes the world is our faith. Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through blood. Not only water but water and blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to Him for the Spirit is truth.

There are then three testimonies : the Spirit, the water and the blood, and these three witnesses agree. If we accept human testimony, with greater reason must we accept that of God, given in favour of His Son.

 

Alternative reading (from the Readings of Year A)

Acts 10 : 34-38

Peter then spoke to them, “Truly, I realise that God does not show partiality, but in all nations He listens to everyone who fears God and does good. And this is the message He has sent to the children of Israel, the Good News of peace He has proclaimed through Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of all.”

“No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 11 January 2015 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid, YHVH is my Strength : Him I will praise, the One who saved me. You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation.

Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.

Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

 

Alternative reading (from the Readings of Year A)

Psalm 28 : 1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9b-10

Give the Lord, o sons of God, give the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in great liturgy.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the Lord thunders over vast waters. How powerful is the voice of the Lord, how splendorous is the voice of the Lord.

The God of glory thunders, the Lord strips the forests bare, and in His temple all cry, “Glory!” Over the flood the Lord was sitting; the Lord is King and He reigns forever.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 11 January 2015 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 55 : 1-11

YHVH said, “Come here, all you who are thirsty, come to the water! All who have no money, come! Yes, without money and at no cost, buy and drink wine and milk. Why spend money on what is not food and labour for what does not satisfy? Listen to Me, and you will eat well; you will enjoy the richest of fare.”

“Incline your ear and come to Me; listen, that your soul may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, I will fulfill in you My promises to David. See, I have given him for a witness to the nations, a leader and commander of the people. Likewise you will summon a nation unknown to you, and nations that do not know you will come hurrying to you for the sake of YHVH your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has promoted you.”

Seek YHVH while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. Let the wicked abandon his way, let him forsake his thoughts, let him turn to YHVH for He will have mercy, for our God is generous in forgiving. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, My ways are not your ways,” says YHVH.

“For as the heavens are above the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : It will not return to Me idle, but It shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.”

 

Alternative reading (from the Readings of Year A)

Isaiah 42 : 1-4, 6-7

Here is My servant whom I uphold, My Chosen One in whom I delight. I have put My Spirit upon Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He does not shout or raise His voice, proclamations are not heard in the streets.

A broken reed He will not crush, nor will He snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear in truth. He will not waver or be broken until He has established justice on earth; the islands are waiting for His Law.

I, YHVH, have called You for the sake of justice; I will hold Your hand to make You firm; I will make You as a Covenant to the people, and as a Light to the nations, to open eyes that do not see, to free captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/10/sunday-11-january-2015-feast-of-the-baptism-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Holy Family (II Classis) – Sunday, 11 January 2015 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Luke 2 : 22

Tulerunt Jesum parentes ejus in Jerusalem, ut sisterent eum Domino.

English translation

The parents of Jesus carried Him to the Temple, to present Him to the Lord.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Placationis hostiam offerimus tibi, Domine, suppliciter deprecantes : ut, per intercessionem Deiparae Virginis cum beato Joseph, familias nostras in pace et gratia tua firmiter constituas. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

English translation

To appease You, o Lord, we offer the Victim of Salvation, humbly beseeching You that, through the prayers of the Virgin Mother of God and of St. Joseph, You would establish our households in Your peace and favour. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Preface of the Epiphany

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Quia, cum Unigenitus Tuus in substantiae nostrae mortalitatis apparuit, nova nos immortalitatis suae luce reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to You, o Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God. Because Your only begotten Son appearing in our mortal nature had restored it by the shedding upon us of that new and immortal light which is His very own. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations and with all the array of the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat :

Communion

Luke 2 : 51

Descendit Jesus cum eis, et venit Nazareth, et erat subditus illis.

English translation

Jesus went down with them, and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.

Post-Communion Prayer

Quos caelestibus reficis sacramentis, fac, Domine Jesu, Sanctae Familiae Tuae exempla jugiter imitari : ut in hora mortis nostrae, occurrente gloriosa Virgine Matre tua cum beato Joseph; per te in aeterna tabernacula recipi mereamur : Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May You, o Lord, bring us whom You have refreshed with heavenly mysteries to imitate the example of Your Holy Family, that at the hour of our death, with the Virgin Mother and blessed Joseph at hand, we may be received by You into our everlasting home. Who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.