The Pastor's Pen
One of the insights that Pope Benedict XVI has had regarding the new English translation of the Roman Missal is that the liturgy of the Church must have continuity with past generations and union with the mind of Christ for the Church. This continuity was true in the earliest days of the Church where Catholic liturgy developed from Jewish liturgical practices. Part of this evidence is contained in the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper where elements of Jewish theology and liturgy are present and brought into the realm of the new covenant.
Today I begin a lengthy series of teachings on the Mass so we, as a parish, can be in union with our Archbishop who has declared 2011 in the Archdiocese of New York the “Year for Mass.” Archbishop Dolan made this declaration in part to highlight our individual and communal response to the Lord’s command at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me.” He also declared the “Year for Mass” to anticipate, with enthusiasm, the coming promulgation of the revised edition of the Missale Romanum, the Roman Missal, which is the ritual text containing
I have been asked to share this information from the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese:
Dear Supporters of Life,
Here are some public policy announcements for your information and action:
The radical “Reproductive Health Act” has been introduced in the State Legislature — the new bill number for this session is S.2524 (Klein). It has not yet been introduced in the Assembly. Governor Andrew Cuomo has already pledged to press for passage of this bill. This extremist bill would establish abortion as a “fundamental right” within New York State law, which would make abortion virtually immune from any regulation or restriction, and could force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and Catholic schools and charitable agencies to promote or refer for abortions and contraception.
The final effect of baptism I want to study with you is the gift of the indelible sacramental character. This spiritual mark stamped on the soul at baptism is called indelible because it cannot be removed or erased and, because of this, baptism cannot be repeated. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church so clearly states, “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation.
The next grace, or effect, of baptism we look at is how this sacrament brings us incorporation into the Church, the Body of Christ. When we receive the gift of becoming an adopted child of God, as we learned last week, we also become a member of the Family of God, the People of God: the Church. Thus, part of the grace of baptism is to incorporate us into the Body of Christ, the Church as a community of believers making us true brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We began our reflection on the effects of the sacrament of baptism by looking at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and considering what the symbol of water teaches. As we studied, water is used to wash the body and so sacramental baptism washes the soul of all sin, original and personal. However, water is also used in our lives to fill the body for life and health and thus it symbolizes the work of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of baptism.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord where God foreshadows in Jesus the Sacrament of Baptism to be celebrated by the Church of the new covenant and the effects of this baptism in the life of a believer. Looking at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John and reflecting on the words of Christ, the Church has come to proclaim the necessity for baptism and to know its effects in the heart and soul of a disciple. Thus, the Church rejoices in the baptism of Christ because the event helps to teach us the effects of sacramental baptism in us.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany which recalls the visit of the magi to the Christ child. This Feast reminds us that Jesus came to the whole world not just to the people of Israel. Thus, the Incarnation, the reality of the Word made flesh, was revealed to all the nations. It was revealed to the whole world so that we can participate in this mystery, not only by our knowledge of it, but in person. God wants us to receive the Word made flesh so that the life of Christ can be conceived and grow in our soul.
Celebrating the great Feast of Christmas and, today, honoring the Holy Family brings our attention to one of the beautiful and profound mysteries of revelation and that is the mystery of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, I arrive at the act of faith in the life of a believer. I have covered the topics of a lack of faith and “half-baked” faith in my last two articles. Today, I present the positive, joyous truth of faith as gift and response. As I mentioned in the earlier articles faith is a gift from God, a grace freely offered, but it also is an act of the person who has received the gift, an act of their intellect and will. Thus, faith is a response, a completion of the dialogue between persons, God and me, leading to a communion of persons in love.