The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
Dear Parishioners, In the Didache (also called “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” written around the year 100), there are instructions concerning the rite of initiation into Christ: “Baptize in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost, in living water (blessed water). But if you have no living water, baptize in other water. If you cannot baptize in cold, then in warm…pour water three times on the head.” Unchanged through the centuries, the sacramental rite of baptism always involves water, whether it is from a small font, a full-size immersion bath or even a freshwater river or lake (I baptized a catechumen in his swimming pool). For the most part, the water is clear, clean and an appropriate symbol of expressing the baptismal cleansing by which sins are forgiven and the newly initiated are incorporated into Christ and the church. Today’s feat, with its focus on Jesus’ baptism, invites each of us to remember the grace and blessing of our own baptism and recommit ourselves to being obedient to the God of Life as was Jesus. When we do, we too will hear those most welcome words: “this is my beloved son (child).”
As we begin this New Year we also begin to anticipate experiencing God in the ordinary events of life. The 33 or 34 Sundays of Ordinary Time (from the Latin “ordinal” meaning to mark time) are used to focus on various aspects of the Faith, especially the mission of the church in the world. The Lectionary readings for these Sundays tend to be semi-continuous readings through certain sections of Scripture, this year using St. John’s Gospel. Most liturgies use Ordinary Time to focus on specific themes of interest or importance to a local congregation during this time. We see this in the first three weeks of Ordinary Time which focus on Vocations, Catholic Schools and Christian Unity.
The color for Ordinary Time is dark green, although other shades of green are commonly used. Green has traditionally been associated with new life and growth. Even in Hebrew in the Old Testament, the same word for the color “green” also means “young.” In Christian tradition, green came to symbolize the life of the church following Pentecost, as well as symbolizing the hope of new life in the resurrection.
Thank you for keeping our Faith alive!! To all: consider Catholic school education, our children are the love letters we send in to the future, send them with complete blessings.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father John O’Leary