Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany. Each time God manifests himself we speak of that event as an Epiphany. Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John is a second Epiphany in this season.

The text of Jesus’ baptism is taken from the Gospel of Mark. Mark is the only book in the Bible that announces itself as a “Gospel” (Mark 1:1), the ‘good news’ about Jesus. There is no word in Mark’s Gospel about the birth or youth of Jesus. He starts right in with this ‘good news’ of Jesus’ baptism as the beginning of his ministry. It is the fulfilment of the “messenger” promised by the prophet Isaiah (40:3. Malachi 3:1

Baptisms in our country are predominantly a family celebration unlike a wedding which has a more social celebratory focus.  Today’s baptism has the Blessed Trinity in attendance; THE Father, THE Son and THE Holy Spirit; this is a family celebration and we are drawn into the embrace of the three persons of the Trinity to be joined in this family celebration.

The text of today is loaded and we need to listen carefully to its message. We are told that Jesus was coming out of the water when he SAW the heavens TORN APART and the Spirit descending LIKE A dove on him. And a VOICE came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.

The dramatic revelation comes “from above”. First, the heavens are torn apart. The heavens are rent open to indicate that Jesus belongs in the divine realm. The word “torn open” (schizo) used of the heavens occurs again at the crucifixion in Mark 15:38 when the temple curtain is “torn apart” at the moment when Jesus breathes his last, implying a connection between the baptism and crucifixion.

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Second to another yet first among many –  Saturday after Epiphany – John 3:22-30

We come to this passage immediately following the conversation in chapter-3 between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus has just finished His interview with Nicodemus in which Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. Following that conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and His disciples traveled about 50 miles to an area called Salim which is located along the Jordan River.  John (the Baptist) was at the same place and was baptising people on the other side of the Jordan River.

This reading marks a stage in the transition from the preaching and ministry of John the Baptist to that of Jesus. Some of John’s disciples had joined Jesus at John’s prompting, “Look, here is the lamb of God” (John 1:36). Those that remained with John now seem to be upset that “all” are going to Jesus for Jesus ministry has begun to flourish and John’s influence is being eclipsed by Jesus ministry. What is the real issue here? Well, we could translate their feeling as, ‘he is getting more attention and it is making us feel less important, less successful. They suggest to John that perhaps it would have been better if he had not borne witness to Him and that he should stop mentioning His name. They are worried that John might lose his following.                                           

What would we call that? Jealousy! It is comparison that is rooted in insecurity that breeds resentment. Without the Holy Spirit working grace in our hearts, that is the natural, human response we all have to such kinds of situations. We want other people to succeed, but not more than us! We would all like to think we are above it but most of us know that it is a potential in us.

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Mass time 7 pm
Mass link: https://bit.ly/fr-warner-youtube

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Entrance : स्वर जी हमारे

स्वर जो हमारे होठो पे है
उसमें छुपी है स्वामी तेरी ही धुन
तेरे दरवाजे पे आते हैं हम
पग पग गाते हूए तेरे ही गुन ।।

जब जब हम गायेंगे
तेरा यश गायेंगे
महिमा तेरी सदा
सबको सुनायेंगे ।

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Response: God goes up with shouts of joy.
The Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

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Offertory: We offer You, O Lord divine

We offer You, O Lord divine,
Our humble gifts of bread and wine.
We place them on Your altar, Lord, today.
Make them worthy of Your love.
Send Your blessings from above,
Sanctify these gifts, O Lord, we pray.

O take our hearts, take our minds.
Take all we have, make them thine

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Communion: As the deer

As the deer that pants for water,
So my soul longs after you.
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship you.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship you.

I want You more than gold and silver,
Only you can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy-giver
And the apple of my eye.

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Recessional: जहाँ हम जायें

जहाँ हम जायें तेरा यश गायें
तेरे प्यारे संदेश सबको सुनायें ।
जहाँ कहीं भी जायें , सबको सुनाते जायें
महिमा ये तेरी प्रभु गायें हम

हमको तो मिली हैं प्रभु तेरी ये दुआयें
तेरा ही भरोसा ले के , आगे बढ़ जायें
चाहे दुख पायें प्रभु चाहें सुख पायें
हमको जो दिया हैं तूने दिल से लगाए.

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They chose the book; He chose the verse – Thursday after Epiphany – Luke 4:14-22a

In his early thirties Jesus had left Nazareth and the family workshop to listen to John the Baptist in the desert. Today’s Gospel tells us of Jesus’ dramatic homecoming to the little synagogue in Nazareth in Galilee. Galilee is significant because of its insignificance! Jesus did not grow up in Jerusalem, the centre of Jewish life and religious practice. Instead, he grew up in Galilee, the hinterlands, a place where many Gentiles live; a nowhere place as far as the religious elite are concerned. A major portion of his ministry is conducted in Galilee. Jesus, the familiar young local carpenter, is home again. Little did that village know that they were about to witness a turning-point in world history.

Right at the outset of His Galilean ministry, Jesus announces his mission for the poor and those on the fringes, especially the Gentiles.  It is in Nazareth that Jesus declares publicly His pastoral mission. There are six incidences in Luke’s Gospel that has Jesus actively involved on the Sabbath; this is the first of the six and it takes place in the synagogue.

The centre of Jewish worship historically was the temple in Jerusalem. However, during the Babylonian Exile and the Diaspora (the geographical scattering of the Jews), Jews established local synagogues so that they might worship regularly. While the emphasis of temple worship was animal sacrifice, synagogue worship focused on prayer, scripture readings, and teaching. For most Jews, temple worship was something that they experienced, at best, a few times in a lifetime. Still others could only hope to make one Jerusalem pilgrimage in their lifetime. Hence, local synagogues met their need for regular worship. The synagogues placed less emphasis on ritual and more emphasis on teaching spiritual values.

The Sabbath service in the synagogue was not a triennial cycle of readings as we have them in Church today nor was it led by the ‘ministerial priesthood ‘. There were no professional clergy. The president of the synagogue invited someone to comment on the scriptures. Luke 4:23 tells us that the people of Nazareth were aware of the things that Jesus had done in Capernaum and in a way acknowledge Him as a Rabbi and so they honour him by allowing him to read the scriptures and preach to them.

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