I myself did not know him

Greetings on this the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Is 49:3, 5-6; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Cor 1:1-3; Jn 1:29-34
Notes: John said this twice in the account of the baptism of the Lord.

I myself did not know him.

There is a mystery in this statment worthy of today’s consideration.

John did know Jesus certainly.
Elizabeth was visited Mary and John leapt in the womb at the sound of Mary’s voice.
Mary helped Elizabeth birth John (sympathetic reading of the scripture).

Taking a step back.

The baptism of the Lord is accounted for in each of the four Gospels.

We celebrated the Baptism of the Lord in Guatemala City on Sunday and in the USA on Monday past.
On this second Sunday of Ordinary Time we encounter the Gospel of John’s account of the baptism.

There are slight variations between the accounts each giving a more profound accounting theologically than the one written before. Using progressive elaboration is a common theme in the divine-human exchange and most delightful when seeing the process play out over the development of the gospel accounts themselves.

One example to illustrate. ok?

Spirit

  • Gospel of Mark – the first of the gospels – the Spirit descended upon him like a dove.
  • Gospel of Matthew – the second gospel – the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighted on him.
  • Gospel of Luke – the third gospel – the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove.
  • Gospel of John – the last gospel – I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.

There are many such examples in this very brief but impactful sacred scripture.

Trinity

  • All four indicate the Trinity by the Father’s voice, the Sonship and the Spirit.
  • This is my beoved Son, with whom I am well pleased (three accounts, slight and important differences).
  • The Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit.

This is why we can make summary statements about the baptism taking into account the totality of the baptism accounts provided. For today, let us look at just one more and it will be the basis of the homily.

Where From?

  • Gospel of Mark – the first of the gospels – Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee.
  • Gospel of Matthew – the second gospel – Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordon to John.
  • Gospel of Luke – the third gospel – Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized.
  • Gospel of John – the last gospel – After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me (eternal).

The gospel of John adds:

  • Lamb of God.
  • Son of God.
  • Witness to divinity (preexistence).
  • Jesus is the baptizer of the Holy Spirit.
  • I did not know him.

What follows?

  • Mark – Tempation of Jesus.
  • Matthew – Temptation of Jesus.
  • Luke – Genealogy of Jesus and the temptation of Jesus.
  • John – Calling of the disciples and the ‘conclusion’ of the temptation Heavens open and Angels (See Jn 1:51)

First reading
The Servant of the Lord (Salvation for the Jew and Gentile alike)

It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of and restore the survivors of Israel;

AND

I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”

Second reading
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia Verse
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him, he gave power to become children of God.

Gospel Portion
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

I did not know him.
I did not know him.

the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.

Just like Simeon in the Gospel of Luke, John received insight as to how to know him.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

God reveals.

  • John knew Jesus as man and as Lamb of God – though he wondered what that meant.
  • John knew Jesus as Suffering Servant, The Ideal Davidic King, and Messiah after his visitation.

There are seven weeks in Ordinary Time before we begin Lent Season.

Now is the perfect time to come to know Jesus:

  • Know him as a man walking the Earth.
  • Know him as friend and join his pilgrimage.
  • Know him as Lamb.
  • Know him as King.
  • Know him as Messiah.
  • Know him as suffering.

Let the Lord speak to you of him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Letter to the Editor

Provided by Father Frank O’Laughlin (he picks good articles to read)

Benedict’s legacy will be a contested one. “Your wonderful and at times heartbreaking edition of 7 January confirmed everything I felt for this very holy, peaceful, gentle but strong human being. Thank you for a rare, moving and honest series of features”, writes John Elder in our Letters pages this week. “Through his writings he set out in search of lost sheep, lifted me on to his shoulders, and carried me home,” adds Paul Hammond; “His legacy is of a timid man burned by the experience of Nazism then blinded by the glare of modernity who sought guidance by looking in the rear-view mirror”, offers Dominic Kirkham. 

One – imperfect but not unhelpful – way the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are characterised is as an echo of the contrasting visions of two of the great theologians of the last century, Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Rahner saw the grace of God at work in the world, thick with anonymous Christians; Balthasar saw a world of totalitarian nightmares, of nuclear arsenals, labour camps and torture chambers crying out for the abrasive medicine of the Gospel. As we write in our leader this week, “The Balthasar/Rahner debate, the dialogue between Benedict and Francis, is something the Church needs constantly to ponder – without trying to bring it to a simple resolution and without one side demonising the other. For they were both right. Humankind is simultaneously both redeemed and fallen.”

The other link: Why the dialogue between Benedict and Francis is something the Church needs constantly to ponder.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Frozen Ground – Empty Bellies

Deep Freeze. Harvest Lost. Courtesy Fr Frank.

Fr Frank asks that I remind you (and myself) of the difficulty of the migrant harvest workers.

When the freeze comes no aid is available for the harvest workers. Or hurricane, or tornado, or drought.

While the State of Florida provides financial assistance to farmers for crop failures as a result of freezes and other agricultural disasters, the migrant worker does not receive unemployment or financial assistance to bridge to the next planting season. It can be a very hard life.

The Gleaners. Finding a meal when the harvest is gone.

The migrant worker is every bit as part of our common economic life as any USA citizen. Whether here on visa, green card, or undocumented, they are an important part of our economic life and our social life. We are in fact one family.

We should as a part of our systematic care for all members of the common life provide assistance specific to the harvest workers when such impacts occur. Out of Christian charity, yes. But in a sense more so out of Solidarity and in our common humanity. You don’t have to be Chrisitan to see yourself in their plight.

Humanism and Christian Humanism share many common goals. This should be one of them.

Donate to: https://www.guatemalanmaya.org/

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

2017 Guatemala orphanage fire

Orphanage Fire Memorial

The memorial on the night day we were in the city photos.

The tragedy is the poor care for the orphan and the effects of social injustice have a cascading effect. Even righteous protest can be disastrous. It is wise to keep our eyes on Jesus and our behaviors in the Beatitudes.

Background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Guatemala_orphanage_fire

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

The unclean spirit convulsed

Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s gospel portion: His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Route of the mission team above.

Frontier Route bleow.

Flight home was uneventful.

My last foot journey was the five miles from I-95 to my home.

Typing on a laptop. I miss my phone 🙂

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Fishers of Men

Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (Guatemala liturgical calendar. In USA today is Feast of Baptism)

Today’s gospel portion: Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

You may wonder why the Monday post comes on Wednesday.

After the frontier, drove to Huehuetenango, stayed overnight, I made my way by bus from Huehuetenango to Guatemala City via a coach bus. So far so good.

Communicating with the mission team we agreed to meet up in Guatemala City on Monday for the final two days in-country. While in Guatemala City I walked 16 km total with my 14 LB backpack to the Cathedral and back again partly to fill the day with activity and partly to continue the solidarity of the pilgrim and migrant.

Then two motorcycle thieves jumped the curb, grabbed my cell phone and drove off.

You haven’t heard from me because I have no cell phone.

Of course, I had shock and surprise like anyone. But my first thought was, ‘Hey, this is just like in the movies.’

This aspect of the trip (continuing the diaspora solidarity pilgrimage) brings to focus the dangers of the migration. In summary, I was victim of crime in Mexico City and Guatemala City, both. In the first case, by a member of the State apparatus, and in the second case just normal street thieves. In both cases no recourse but by my own resources. Imagine this story being repeated on a 3,000 journey for one with very little and the trust in the Lord. Or even no faith, no resources, just desperation.

And they come.

I will attempt to write from the experiences and observations careful to be disrespectful and objective.

But you have no photos from this point forward.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

The Baptism of the Lord

Today’s gospel portion: After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Traveling through the wilderness frontier we arrived at La Mesilla Frontier. The church is the Immaculate Conception.

Jesus’ baptism is the renewal of all creation. All things are made new. Consecrating all creation and opening the door to repentance. In his baptism he reveals the Holy Trinity.

He is our common hope. He makes plain too our common problem. We have one God, one planet and one human race. It isn’t us and them. It’s we.

Border Town.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

La Mesilla Guatemala Frontier

We arrived after the wilderness Route.

Psalm

By the rivers of Babylon there we sat weeping when we remembered Zion. On the poplars in its midst we hung up our harps.
For there our captors asked us for the words of a song;
Our tormentors, for joy:
“Sing for us a song of Zion!”

But how could we sing a song of the LORD in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget.
May my tongue stick to my palate if I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem beyond all my delights (PS 137:1-6).

Immaculate Conception parish. Mexico Guatemala border.