Week of January 10, 2021

I hope it’s not too late on behalf of Fr. Timothy, Fr. Tom, Fr. Oswaldo and myself to wish you all a very “Happy and Healthy New Year!” The number 20-20 is often used to describe vision. As you know this past year 2020 has been a very unique and challenging one, yet hopefully we have all gained a 20-20 ‘vision’ and understanding of how vulnerable we are and how much we truly depend on our loving and merciful God! Now that the holidays are almost done, I want to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to our “Together As One” ACC Parish Christmas collections. Your generosity is what could really help us through our current Covid pandemic and in these challenging economic times! May God reward your goodness, prayers, and support to our pastors and staffs!

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord. Seems we just finished celebrating Christ’s infant birth, his visit by the Shepherds and Magi, and now we are already launched into Jesus’ adulthood! Time, even for Jesus, goes fast!

The Baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of His public ministry and life. You might say it is really his inauguration and introduction to the world after spending some 30 years in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph and known as the ‘Carpenter’s son.’ I find it interesting that Jesus came to be baptized by John in the Jordan River for the repentance of sin, when in fact, He is God’s Son, the sinless one! Truth is, Jesus came to humble himself not only to grant us salvation but also to show us the way to salvation and eternal life through himself!

St. Francis of Assisi once said, “God is like water. Water (in liquid form) never goes up, never ascends, but always descends until it reaches the lowest point to give life.” Maybe that’s why Jesus “descended” into the waters of Baptism and repentance for us. It’s interesting to note that geographically, the location of the Jordan River near the Dead Sea, is also the lowest place on the face of the earth, some 1412 ft. below sea level! Jesus, the Son of God, like water seeks the lowest place both spiritually and geographically and from there takes all creation with himself and lifts it up to God! We can be so thankful for that! This is why Baptism is such an important Sacrament in our Catholic, Christian lives! Baptism is really our inauguration and introduction into living a fully Christian life, and so the first Sacrament we must receive in order for all the other sacraments to take effect!

It’s always great to see the smiles on parents faces as their child is baptized in church and into Christ, knowing that through Baptism they are following the pathway Jesus marked out for us, and that their son or daughter is now called a “Child of God,” a child who will always be under the protection and guidance of our Lord. So, as we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, let’s recall what Jesus did and how our baptism truly affects us! God bless us all in the peace of Christ!

Fr. LeRoy Scheierl