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 separates 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 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 Saint 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.
Well, for nearly two years, by the Grace of God, I was kept free of the Covid. That ended right after Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Family. Fortunately, I was already quasi-isolating when I began to feel ill. I’m grateful for Frs. Bill Menzel and Joe Bathke filling in for me while I was recuperating. As I write this (Monday), I am already fully over any Covid symptoms and am regaining my strength and vigor. I appreciate the prayers so many offered for my quick restoration to good health and assure you that I took this occasion to offer my prayers especially for the good people of SS Peter & Paul!
This Friday I will be flying down to Peoria, IL, to baptize my grand-nephew Dimitri George Schaller. (Thanks, Fr. Levi, for filling in while I’m gone!) His father, Rob, was my first baptism after I was ordained a deacon in August, 1986. I witnessed Rob & Terra’s wedding 5 years ago and baptized their first two girls. And now I get to baptize their first boy. It is hard to describe the joy a priest experiences when he makes a new Christian! I am hoping that 2022 is a bumper year of baptisms here at SSPP, too!
On behalf of Deacon Jerry Ruesch and all the parish staff, I want to express my deep gratitude for the many cards, gifts, and Christmas greetings which we received from you, the generous parishioners of SS Peter & Paul. May God reward you, and may He bless you with a safe, prosperous, and holy New Year!
May God bless you!