Pastoral Message – January 9, 2022
Today, we’re ending the Liturgical Christmas Season with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The well- known readings we most freely associate with Christmas are known by Bible scholars as the “Infancy Narrative.” But now, you might notice that Jesus’ own Baptism wasn’t an infant’s Baptism. Jesus was Baptized by his kinsman John as an adult according to Scripture. His Baptism instituted the Sacrament of Baptism for us. His Baptism was the beginning of his active years of ministry, teaching, organizing and finally taking up the cross to give us life in his resurrection. His Baptism was a Theophany – that is God revealing God’s own self so we might know the nature and plan of God. That is a short summation of God’s mystery revealed through the meaning of this Feast.
Now a few Saints Simon & Jude Churchy things. They’re not related to the Feast today. Instead just things that happened around the parish. Like a couple weeks ago, during one of recent blustery storms, I was called to go out and look up at the roof of the Church building. The cross – one of two – which had been on the roof for decades had been twisted by the wind to such an extent that it was literally hanging by a thread. The business manager and I weren’t quite sure who to call to fix this. Who has a 50-foot ladder and the bravery to climb a ladder in a gale? Well the Huntington Beach Fire Department. I figured they get all kinds of calls like getting cats out of trees. Maybe they could help us!?! Well, they came, and they came quickly. Within minutes the 5 foot tall metal clad cross was safely off the roof. The Fire folks were here and gone in a flash. I was grateful that they came to our aid and they did so with a great attitude and a smile on their faces. We have since called a company or two about fixing the cross and putting it back in it’s place. The estimate for that is about $10,000. So, we might hold off on the fix until a windless, sunny day. One cross on the roof might be enough for now!
Due to pandemic and travel, our Christmas congregation was a bit diminished in attendance. But it seems that generosity wasn’t diminished at all. According to Colleen Murray, our Business Manager, our Christmas collection was strong. That is so very encouraging! And I loved the participation of the decorators, the musicians and choirs – I especially loved having a children’s choir! I wasn’t the celebrant at that 5:30 pm Mass, but I snuck (or should it be sneaked) in the back when the young‘uns were singing. That was one of the highlights of Christmas 2021 for me.
Finally, since we’re already a week into 2022, it might seem a bit late for me to say this, but I’ll add it anyway. Back in the day we used to use the term Anno
Domini to signify the year. That phrase translates into English as “the year of the Lord.” So join me in considering that the time we’re given this year to be “of the Lord.” Let’s strive to be holy, healthy, and grateful in the service of God, humanity and all creation.
God bless y’all