Dear Parishioners and Friends, Near and Far,
A blessed and happy and safe new year of 2021 to all! Please continue to wear masks and keep distance in church. A continuous thank you to all who keep us safe by ushering and sanitizing. Thank you to all who remembered me at Christmas with cards, gifts, kind words, and prayers. You are too kind. This year I’m way behind on my thank you notes and I’ll blame it on the virus.
This weekend we celebrate the baptism of Jesus and the end of the Christmas Season. We will always remember this past Christmas with needed tickets and reservations for church and masks, etc., not to mention the sudden snowstorm. Why did Jesus decide to be baptized? Saint John’s baptism was a Jewish baptism of repentance to prepare one for the world’s final days. In submitting to John’s baptism, Jesus is incorporated officially into Israel and is prepared to renew Israel through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit appears above Jesus and prepares Him for His ministry on earth. We are baptized to have this same Holy Spirit.
I have baptized many over my years of priesthood. About 33 years ago, I was assigned as a hospital chaplain in Akron. My ministry included three hospitals; I hardly ever slept. One morning at about 2 AM I was called Akron Children’s Hospital to baptize some premature babies. In the huge neonatal intensive care unit quadruplets were kept, each weighing about 2 1/2 pounds. So they wouldn’t get confused each baby was in each corner of the room. They were listed as A, B, C, and D. I had to wear a hairnet, gloves, gown, mask etc. and I had to use special sterile water. The father of the children and the ICU staff went with me for each baptism. I’ll never forget the experience but now as years have passed, I can’t remember the names of the four girls. They all survived and every once in a while the family would send me a picture of the girls at one year old, two years old and five years old.
We are baptized to have the Holy Spirit in us and the ability to receive the other sacraments. Come Holy Spirit!
A little weekend humor:
Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
Can an atheist get insurance against the acts of God?
Go Buckeyes! Win the national championship and Browns beat those Squealers!
With Him and His Mom,