In quick succession the Church celebrates the birth of the Lord, His Epiphany, and in today’s feast, His Baptism (which closes the Church’s observance of the Christmas season). It would appear to be a rather big jump from His Epiphany to His Baptism – some thirty years separate the two events. The Church places these feasts together to show that the Lord’s public ministry is manifested by His Baptism, as His divinity was made manifest to the gentiles by His appearance to the Wise Men at the Epiphany. As the Baptism of the Lord inaugurated His public witness as the Messiah, so Baptism for a Christian begins a life seeking holiness – of emulating the Lord. This Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is also the First of the Luminous Mysteries (or Mysteries of Light) which Pope John Paul II introduced in October of 2002. Whereas the other Mysteries of the Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious) focus on events early in the Lord’s life, or at the very end, the Luminous Mysteries present for our meditation the very events of our Lord’s ministry.
Early next Sunday, I (and 23 other pilgrims) will be flying out of MSP airport for the beginning of an 11-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A Pilgrimage – not simply a trip, vacation, or excursion – is fundamentally a spiritual journey. While visiting the holy sites of our Lord’s birth, teaching, miracles, death, and resurrection, we intend to draw ever closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Be assured that I will be praying for all the people of SSPP at each of the holy sites! I wish to thank the priests who will be providing pastoral care in my absence: Msgr. Robert Hundt, Fr. William Menzel, and Fr. Aaron Becker.
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller