9 January, Monday — Membership

9 Jan – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, or Theophany, is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Originally the baptism of Christ was celebrated on Epiphany, which commemorates the coming of the Magi, the baptism of Christ, and the wedding at Cana. Over time in the West, however, the celebration of the baptism of the Lord came to be commemorated as a distinct feast from Epiphany. It is celebrated in the Catholic Church as well as the Anglican and Lutheran Churches on the first Sunday following The Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6). Some Lutheran churches celebrate it on the Sunday before Lent, or Quinquagesima.

  • Wikipedia

Isa 42:1-4,6-7
Mt 3:13-17

“It is I who need baptism from you”, he said, “and yet you come to me!”

In the time before the internet and global connectivity, our worlds were a lot smaller. We would interact mainly with the people in our families, neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. There was limited exposure to culture and news beyond what was available in the few mainstream broadcast channels and publications. People travelled less and were, in a sense, much more local.

Fast forward to 2023 and that has changed completely. With the likes of Facebook, Spotify, Telegram, Zoom, and budget air travel, we can pretty much gain access to ideas and places in the world with little or no difficulty. As a result, it is easy to become engrossed in our own ideas and to be influenced by others who share similar views.

We could end up closing ourselves off from the rest of the world and become very silo-ed in our beliefs. When we are divided with our neighbours, then building a sense of shared belonging and community becomes challenging.

With baptism, we join other Catholics to become members of the Church. We join in with people from all walks of life to grow in our faith and to get to know Christ better. There are also many ministries that we can get involved in to give back to God some of the time and gifts he has bestowed on us.

Even if we fall by the wayside and may not be as active in church as we would like, baptism still keeps us in the fold. The Church, and God will always be ready for us when the time is right to rekindle that relationship.

Some Catholics may say that they love God, but not the Church. They do not like the rigidity of having to attend mass, and find the human interactions draining. They speak of politics and friction amongst members, and because they do not believe in all the Church’s positions on societal issues, some may instead choose to nurture their relationship with God on their own.

Alas, there aren’t a multitude of Catholic churches out there. There is only one universal Church and we are members of it through baptism. It may not be perfect, but we must trust that God’s hand guides its leaders and we have a part to play in contributing to its success.

Unlike any other memberships you might have and do not use, I invite you to consider reactivating the one you have with the Church, and to grow with others for others in 2023.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gregory Mathew)

Prayer: We ask you, dear Lord, to keep strong the desire in our hearts to draw closer and to know you deeply.

Thanksgiving: We are grateful for the gift of community and fellowship that is your universal church.

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