From the Pastor's Desk   
  
We are Baptized into Christ
 
To be Church
Commissioned to Proclaim the Gospel
 
The Church says that the Baptism of the Lord is a Christmas feast, continuing the epiphany of God in human flesh and blood, making Jesus, now come to full stature, (and us) ready and prepared to proclaim the Good News.
 
It may not be immediately obvious, but Luke’s account of the Baptism of Jesus reveals that through it all Jesus was engaged in dialogue (prayer) with the Father. Luke says that Jesus, upon being baptized, was praying to the Father and as he prayed God spoke to him from the heavens: “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”
 
Though we did not have dramatic signs from heaven when we were baptized, we too are indeed God’s beloved sons and daughters. Let our own prayer confirm us in the truth, as Jesus taught us, that God is pleased in us. Let us fully live out our vocation as daughters and sons of God.
 
The First Reading comes from the first of four lyrical prophecies of Isaiah known as the “Suffering Servant Songs.” These songs tell of one who will restore Israel and its ideals. Isaiah refers to him as a servant: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am well pleased.”
 
One author writes: Listening to the deeds that this person will perform — establishing justice on the earth, opening the eyes of the blind, rescuing prisoners — you would think Isaiah would have used the word “hero” or “king,” not “servant.” But Isaiah had the wisdom to realize that the fundamental mission to which God would call this person was one of service.
 
God does not call any of us to rule, to triumph, or even to be successful, but to serve. And to serve with faithfulness! To me faithfulness means never giving up, staying in the journey, we keep on trying, and if we fall to get up again and continue on, knowing that we are not perfect, but we are forgiven and we are loved and we are called to be faithful. 
 
The Missalette offers two sets of readings for today. Though we are proclaiming at Mass the first set, it would be good to find some time at some point to read and reflect on the others as well.
 
Scripture scholars tell us that the book of Isaiah was written over a period of more that two hundred years, thus, obviously, not by a single person/prophet. They say that Isaiah is clearly divided into three parts, often referring to them as First Isaiah, Second Isaiah, and Third Isaiah. The reading you will find on page 57 of the Missalette begins Second Isaiah and prophetically the author’s first word is “Comfort.” “Comfort, give comfort to my people says your God.” Writing during a time of severe distress — the Israelites were living in exile — this Isaiah offers consolation and peace, assuring the people that the Lord’s glory will be revealed and their guilt will be expiated.
 
During our own times of difficulty, let us allow the words of Isaiah to comfort us. Isaiah announces that our good Servant-Shepherd will carry us in his arms and gather us together, will nourish us and pasture us, and will lead us, his flock, to the eternal green pastures promised us in baptism. We place our faith, our hope, and our trust in the Lord. 
 
CHRIST IS FAITHFUL! 
 
We are not perfect.  We are forgiven! 
 
Perhaps it is prophetic today that we hear these words of hope. The whole world has had a difficult year, dealing with a new threat to our health and losing many loved ones to its grip. But we know that God is with us. God has not abandoned us. And God calls us to help each other to carry on with faith and faithfulness, to serve each other in Christ’s name. Jesus was always sensitive to those who were suffering and he showed a special affection, care and concern for them. Christ gives us a new year. We pray that it is a year of favor. 
    Fr. Bob 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Dear Padre” page courtesy of:
Mahn Funeral Home
Peaceful Ridge Cemetery
Mausoleum - Monuments - Cremation
900 Main & Mahn Ave - De Soto, MO 63020 - 636-586-2288/515 Collins Ave.-Festus, MO 63028 - 636-937-4444 
www.mahnfuneralhome.com