Baptism-of-Jesus-2Dear Parishioners: Take a good look around the Church this weekend at all the Christmas decorations.  Make sure you make a stop by the beautiful crèche and offer a s baptism in the Jordan River by  John the Baptist, the Precursor, proposes the s birth at Christmas and the Epiphany that we have just  celebrated. At Christmas we s manifestation to all s Baptism in the Jordan Baptism is in fact His definitive manifestation as the Messiah, the Christ to  Israel, and as the Son of the  Father to the entire world. This Feast of the Baptism serves as powerful reminder of our own calling as a Christian  Church. The Baptism of the Lord calls each of us to renew our s family and to ask ourselves how we are living out our baptismal promises to love God and neighbor.  Christmas is all about peace and good will and so many people do wonderful and  generous things for the poor  and needy.  At Christmas we give gifts as signs of love and  gratitude, we sing songs with  joyful hearts, and our Church is full as so many gather to praise and worship the newborn King.

As we end this “most wonderful time of the year” we must ask ourselves a few questions about our faith lives.  Does it take Christmas to make us live like Christians?  Can we be  witnesses of Christ in the ordinary times? Can we help the poor year round? Can we promote peace and good will even in the bleak and cold days of  February? Can we be grateful for those who help us even beyond Christmas? Do we faithfully worship and praise God each week?

t a call to be a Christian once a year   Rather it is a call to be truly Christian in each and every day of our lives, even on the ordinary and hum drum times of our lives.  We do this by loving our God and our neighbor with all our heart, our mind and  our strength. In a recent homily Pope Francis talks of the Sacrament of Baptism. He asks: "Is Baptism, for me, a fact of the past,  relegated to a date, that date which you are going to go look for today, or is it a living reality, that pertains to my present, to every moment? Do you feel strong, with the strength that Christ gave you by his death and his Resurrection? Or do you feel low, without strength? Baptism gives strength and it gives light. Do you feel ”

I offer my thanks and gratitude to the 28 new Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who so willingly volunteered to serve God and their parish in these most important parish ministries.  They are to be officially commissioned for service this weekend and are to begin their ministry in the coming weeks.   I ask you to please keep them in your prayers as they take up their ministry here at Our Lady of Mercy.  Have a great week. God Bless.  Go Pats!!!!