Today we come to the end of the Christmas season with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. With the Baptism that Jesus submitted to by John the Baptist in the Jordan, he bridges the Old and the New Covenants, and the coming cycle of sacred scriptures will open up his years of public ministry. We might even examine the meaning of our own Baptism: What does my baptism mean to me? Before we leap ahead to Ash Wednesday on February 10th, we have one last opportunity today to reflect on the question: How have I experienced Christ this past Christmas and/or Advent season? This weekend is the final opportunity to reflect and pray at the Nativity scene and respond to these questions: Where do I find Christ in my life right now? How do I live my baptism? What am I thankful for as I enter into this New Year?
In the pamphlet from Our Sunday Visitor, the author gave “Pope Francis’ 10 Secrets to Happiness.” There are so many ways we can be happy and most of them pushed our way are materialistic. Pope Francis identifies ten secrets that are time tested and true. I will simply list them again:
1. Live and let live.
2. Be giving of yourself to others.
3. Proceed calmly (my hoped for goal).
4. Develop a healthy sense of leisure.
5. Make Sunday a holy day.
6. Create jobs for young people.
7. Respect and take care of nature.
8. Stop being negative.
9. Respect other’s beliefs.
10. Work for peace.
Each one of these steps can easily require some time for prayer and reflection, seeking guidance on how we can live these steps, these virtues, these aspects of the Gospel message. From being washed into the life of Christ at Baptism to living our baptism each day, Pope Francis gives each of us specific goals for this New Year. Let us take them to heart and put them into practice and transform our world, our parish, our families and our homes.
Blessings – Father Larry