Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This weekend proclaims the end of Christmas with the baptism of Jesus. There is a big temptation to rush back to normality, put away the Christmas decorations and take down the tree and that’s it for another year. Over the Christmas period I spoke about the vulnerability of Jesus; how as a child he was helpless, totally dependent on Mary and Joseph. Dependent on them to feed him, cloth him, to keep him warm, to keep him safe and most importantly, to tell him about Gods love for him.
Jesus was always vulnerable throughout his whole earthly life. His time in Egypt as a refugee and in fear of his life, as a young boy growing up in Nazareth with an Egyptian accent and people knowing the circumstances of his birth. As a young man finding his place in the world and coming to the knowledge that God was calling him to a way of life that was not expected of him and would be very much frowned upon. He was the carpenter’s son, not a rabbi’s son so what right had he to speak to us about God?
Jesus had every reason in the world to say, ‘please Lord don’t ask me, ask someone else.’ At a time he hid in the shadows of John the Baptist and had went with everyone else to be baptized by John. It was John who recognised who Jesus was, it was John who called Jesus out, it was John who affirmed Jesus and encouraged Jesus to accept his calling. John was the one to declare that Jesus was the Messiah.
So, is Jesus a big boy now, not needing our help or protection, our support and affirmation? Jesus still needs us – he said that I am with you always, even to the end of time. Jesus is that unborn child whose life is in danger, he is that child starting his first day at school. He is that young teenager been pressured into doing something that he/she doesn’t want to do. He is that parent whose child has been bullied. He is that elderly person living alone. He is that refugee needing a safe place, a room in the Inn.
This weekend does not end Christmas – Christmas never ends. The Child Jesus is as vulnerable today as when he was born. He needs another Mary and Joseph to protect him. For us to become that ‘Mary and Joseph’ we may need a ‘John the Baptist’ to call us out. Let us call each other out – let us call ourselves out and be the disciple Jesus wants us to be. Let 2019 be the year we answer God’s call. Let us let the Holy Spirit help us to live up to our baptism.
iTunes for Cancer
I am so sorry many of you received text messages, reportedly from me, seeking iTunes cards. Please know I would never ever do that. It is so sad that some people could stoop so low but let us pray for them that they will realize the hurt they are causing.
I want to thank everyone who has done so much leading up to Christmas and during the Christmas season to make our Christmas celebrations so wonderful and memorable. You should be very proud of our liturgies and how well our grounds and Churches looked.