Showing posts with label St John the Baptist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St John the Baptist. Show all posts

5 Jan 2018

'The seed of eternal life.' Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year B


Baptistry, St Mark's, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 1:7-11 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

John the Baptist proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

In countries where the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated this year on Monday 8 January, eg the Philippines and the USA, there is only one reading before the Gospel and the Creed is omitted.
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2013
FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
MASS AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Sistine Chapel, Sunday, 8 January 2012
[I have highlighted parts of the Pope's homily]
Continue here.

6 Dec 2017

'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B



St John the Baptist, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings, (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland,)
Gospel Mark 1:1-8 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight”’.
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Old Road to Auvers, Norbert Goeneutte [Web Gallery of Art]

Charles Kuralt was a reporter with CBS TV in the USA whose On the Roadstories were a regular part of the Evening News for 25 years. These were offbeat stories about real persons and were often uplifting. I remember one in particular from about 1970 when I, then a young priest, was studying in the USA. It featured an elderly man in a small town in one of the Midwestern states. His town was about 10 kms from the next town but in order to go from one to the other you had to travel 20 or 30 kms. The authorities in both towns were unwilling to build a road to connect them.
So this man started to build a road himself, using logs as a foundation, as I recall.

Continue here.

14 Jan 2017

'I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’ Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Madonna and Child with the Lamb of God, Cesare da Sesto
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales,)
Gospel John 1:29-34 (NRSV)

The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’

Sunday Reflections for the Feast of the Santo Niño (Philippines) are here.

San Alfonso de Liguori Parish, Rome, 6 January 2014.
Some wonderful photos of Pope Francis with the lamb here.

My friend Frances Molloy in England, founder and project manager of Pastoral Care Project, a ministry in the Archdiocese of Birmingham to persons with dementia and to their carers, told me a beautiful story in an email just after Christmas:

Behold . . . My granddaughter aged 4 was playing with 'Jesus' family', as they are known to her, our hand-knitted nativity set, and she noticed the empty manger. A little later she came to me and said, 'Grandma, I've put the lamb in the manger'. Quite a moment . . .

The Lamb of God is one of the names of Jesus, pointing towards his sacrificial death on Calvary. St John the Baptist, who introduces Jesus to us with the words Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! was to be martyred not long afterwards. The purpose of the mission of St John the Baptist was that he [Jesus] might be revealed to Israel. This is the mission to which each of us is called.

In his letter to the ten new cardinals he announced in January 2014 Francis writes: And, although this may appear paradoxical, the ability to look further and to love more universally with greater intensity may be acquired only by following the same path of the Lord: the path of self-effacement and humility, taking on the role of a servant.

St John the Baptist followed that path: After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me. His mission was to lead people towards Jesus. One of the ten new cardinals was Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo OMI of Cotabato where just more than half of the 12,000,000 plus people are Catholics. Most of the others are Muslims.

Full post here.

10 Jan 2016

'You are my Son, the Beloved.' Sunday Reflections. The Baptism of the Lord, Year C

The Baptism of Christ, El Greco, 1596-1600 
Gospel Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

A friend of my brother was asked about 25 years ago if he would mind playing a round of golf on a course near Belfast with a visitor from the European Continent. He agreed and the visitor was introduced as 'Monsieur So-and-so'. Naturally, the two men got chatting and the Irishman asked his companion, 'What do you do for a living?' 'Monsieur So-and-so' smiled and said, 'I'm the King of the Belgians'. It was indeed the late King Baudouin.

King Baudouin, a saintly man, often travelled incognito, as Leo Cardinal Suenens, the late Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, tells in his biography of the King, Baudouin, King of the Belgians, The Hidden Life. They sometimes went on pilgrimage to Lourdes together, the King driving. On one such occasion, the Cardinal recalled, they passed a wayside shrine of the Blessed Mother that had been vandalized. King Baudouin stopped the car and fixed the shrine.

Full post here.

4 Dec 2015

'Prepare the way of the Lord.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C

Linaoli Tabernacle, St John the Baptist, Fra Angelico, c.1433
Museo di San Marco, Florence [Web Gallery of Art

Gospel Luke 3:1-6 (NRV, Catholic Edition, Can) 

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’

Charles Kuralt was an American journalist who worked for many years on the CBS TV network in the USA. He was especially noted for his 'On the Road' features on the CBS Evening News. These started in 1967, the year I was ordained, and I became familiar with them when I went to study in the USA the following year.

I vividly remember one particular story - they were never from the highways but from the byways of the United States - about a man somewhat on the older side who lived in a small town somewhere in the heartland of the country. I forget the particular state. The nearest town was only a few kilometres away but there was no road connecting the two. People had to take a very long way around to get from one to the other.

The residents of both houses tried for years to persuade their politicians to build a road between the towns, without success. So this particular elderly citizen decided he'd start to build a road himself, using planks. When Charles Kuralt caught up with him he hadn't got very far - but he had started.

Setting for a meeting of the Legion of Mary
Full post here.

9 Jan 2015

'Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.' Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year B

The Baptism of Christ (detail), Tintoretto, 1579-81
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
http://www.universalis.com/20150111/mass.htm
John the Baptist proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;with you I am well pleased.”

The Census at BethlehemPieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels [Web Gallery of Art]






Two weeks ago, on the Feast of the Holy Family, I celebrated Mass in Holy Family Home for Girls here in Bacolod City. At the beginning of my homily I asked a number of the girls to look at a copy of the painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder above and to point out the Holy Family in it. None of them could find Mary and Joseph, just as none of the figures in the painting notices the young woman on the donkey and the man leading it. Full post here.

14 Dec 2014

'O felix culpa; O happy fault.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B

St John the Baptist, Donatello, 1438
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said,“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,  the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
Mary, Queen of Heaven, Master of the Legend of St Lucy, c.1485-1500
National Gallery of Art, Washington [Web Gallery of Art]
Here in the Philippines we will begin the the Misas de Gallo, also known as Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo Masses, the novena of pre-dawn Masses leading up to Christmas, or Tuesday the 16th. These are votive Masses in honour of our Blessed Mother and in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. The Spanish word 'Aguinaldo' means 'gift' and in this context refers to the gift of faith.   Full post here.

5 Dec 2014

'Prepare the way of the Lord.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B

 

St John the BaptistEl Greco, c.1600Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


Old Road to Auvers, Norbert Goenuette, 1892Private Collection [Web Gallery of Art]

Charles Kuralt was a reporter with CBS TV in the USA whose On the Roadstories were a regular part of the Evening News for 25 years. These were offbeat stories about real persons and were often uplifting. I remember one in particular from about 1970 when I, then a young priest, was studying in the USA. It featured an elderly man in a small town in one of the Midwestern states. His town was about 10 kms from the next town but in order to go from one to the other you had to travel 20 or 30 kms. The authorities in both towns were unwilling to build a road to connect them.

So this man started to build a road himself, using logs as a foundation, as I recall
Full post here.

17 Jan 2014

'Here is the Lamb of God . . .' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A


Madonna and Child with the Lamb of God, Cesare de Sesto, c.1615 

In the Philippines the liturgy is that of the Feast of the Santo  Niño (Holy Child). You'll find Sunday Reflections for that here.

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)                                  

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel John 1:29-34 (New Revised StandardVersion, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”  And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

San Alfonso de Liguori Parish, Rome, 6 January 2014.
Some wonderful photos of Pope Francis with the lamb here.

My friend Frances Molloy in England, founder and project manager of Pastoral Care Project, a ministry in the Archdiocese of Birmingham to persons with dementia and to their carers, told me a beautiful story in an email just after Christmas:

Behold . . . My granddaughter aged 4 was playing with 'Jesus' family', as they are known to her, our hand-knitted nativity set, and she noticed the empty manger. A little later she came to me and said, 'Grandma, I've put the lamb in the manger'. Quite a moment . . .

You can read the full post here.

10 Jan 2014

'This is my beloved Son . . .' Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year A


The Baptism of Christ, El Greco, painted 1608-28 [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)                                  

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Matthew 3:13-17 (New RevisedStandard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented.  And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”


Today's Feast of the Baptism of the Lord brings the liturgical season of Christmas to an end. My edition of The Divine Office suggests the hymn above, Of the Father's Love Begotten (Divinum Mysterium),  as one that may be sung today.

'I baptise you in the name of the Father . . .' 28 December 2011

A Columban confrere, Fr Peter Steen, who died in Ireland in May 2009 at the age of 84 just a couple of weeks after leaving the Philippines, spoke to me a number of times, as I recall, about paintings of the baptism of Jesus. Many of them show only Jesus and his cousin, St John the Baptist. He thought that these were very inaccurate. Jesus lined up with others. St Luke's account specifically says When all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying (3:21).

Full post here.

22 Jun 2012

'Many will rejoice at his birth'. Sunday Reflections for the Birthday of St John the Baptist

Birth of the Baptist, Andrea Pisano 1330 Gilt Bronze (panel of southern door), Baptistry,  Florence, Italy

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)



Readings  (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Vigil Mass and Mass During the Day  [The readings for the Vigil Mass are on the upper part of the page, those for the Mass During the Day on the lower part of the page.]

Liturgical Note. The Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist, like Easter and some other solemnities, has a Vigil, properly so-called. This is not an ‘anticipated Mass’ but a Vigil Mass in its own right, with its own set of prayers and readings. It fulfils our Sunday obligation. The prayers and readings of the Mass During the Day should not be used for the Vigil Mass, nor those of the Vigil Mass for the Mass During the Day. As a solemnity, this celebration takes precedence over the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Gospel Luke 1:57-66, 80 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John." And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name." And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him. 

And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel. 
The Visitation, El Greco, painted 1610-13
Full post here.

Remembering Wisdom

I'm a Christian. So why, one might ask, am I not denouncing something most folks enjoy: like demon rum or Bingo? Or playing the Grinch...