Monday Message, January 10, 2022

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Tomorrow is our first Parish Leader Check In of the year. There is much to talk about: Spring Confirmations, Rite of Election, this blasted virus and its change on our face-to-face plans for formation, and more. Join us by visiting this page.

This week we also pick up our Documents That (Still) Matter series. Join us Wednesday evening for a conversation with Fr. Joe Gill as we discuss Familiaris Consortio. Find all the details here.

The January Clergy Check In is next week, January 19th. See this page for more information.

From our friends at Foundations in Faith:

Foundations in Faith is excited to promote its mini grants to religious education and faith formation programs throughout the Diocese. Mini grants are provided to programs that demonstrate exceptional innovation or exceptional need (or both!). Applicants can request between $500 and $2,000 for their proposed program.
Mini grant applications are on a rolling basis, but are available by invitation only. How do you get invited, you might ask? Pitch us your idea! We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to Kelly Weldon or Rose Brennan and tell us your idea! Please note both Kelly and Rose will be working remotely for the first three weeks of January, and will therefore have limited access to their office phones.On behalf of Foundations in Faith, we can’t wait to hear about the great programs you have in mind for our mini grant program!

Yesterday, we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. We relish the fact that in baptism we receive the Holy Spirit. The danger is that we may reduce the Spirit to a merely private encounter, a personal status symbol. Sunday’s readings reflect on the transforming power of the Spirit, and challenge us to release that power for those who are most in need.

The prophet we call Second Isaiah, writing around 540 B.C., exhorts the exiled community in Babylon to return to the land of Israel. In this poem he speaks of the servant (himself) and all believers who are willing to participate in this new and daring challenge. The challenge will be to receive God’s spirit and thus respond to the task of reviving and transforming the brokenhearted.

Luke, the author of Acts, shows in the second reading that salvation is for everyone. Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee after the baptism preached by John. The anointing is a prophetic one that empowers Jesus to exercise his office on behalf of others. For Luke this anointing is specifically a call to labor for the disenfranchised. Private belief is public service.

In the gospel account, Luke describes the wonder of the people as they experience John’s baptism. John tells of one far greater than he, one with a more powerful baptism.

Our baptism is a prophetic and royal anointing. We receive the life of the Church and are called to sustain that life. Faith is about concern for others. Faith is a public — not private — responsibility.