We pray + in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (1: 1-8).
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
'Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths."'
John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locust and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: 'One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Lord.
Reflection: What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? I imagine myself walking down a country road without a shirt on; it's hot, the sun is out. After several hours under the sun, I come to my destination, walk into the house, sit down in the coolness, and then begin to feel the heat radiating from the back of my legs, my arms and shoulders. The sun has left a kind of tattoo in the form of sun-burnt skin, and now the skin radiates the heat it contains. The heat came from out side of me, and now radiates out of me. That's how the Holy Spirit works! The Holy Spirit is that part of us that moves us to Love and Service and Prayer and Forgiveness. We were baptized with the Holy Spirit at our own Baptism and now the invitation is to let that Holy Spirit radiate out of us in the form of acts of Love, Service, Prayer and Forgiveness.
(An audio recording of my homily from today will be available on the parish website by Tuesday afternoon.)
We pray: Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
In the name + of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.