“On this particular Sunday we celebrate the convergence of two things:
- The affirmation of the incarnation where God the Father in a voice from Heaven says, ‘This is my beloved son.’ Surely Jesus is not just Human, but truly divine, the son of God and so there’s an affirmation of everything that we’ve been celebrating during this Christmas season of the word becoming one with us, taking on flesh and dwelling among us.
- But we also in this feast celebrate the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry as Jesus receives that power of the Holy Spirit in order to proclaim God’s love and to bring about the justice, the rightness between humanity and God the Father.
That’s the tremendous convergence of the incarnation and the paschal mystery of redemption. So often people will say, ‘well why was Jesus ever baptized?’ and the baptism of John was radically different than the baptism that we’re gonna celebrate this evening for Molly. John’s baptism was one of repentance. It was one calling people to recognize that they needed forgiveness that they needed to change their ways that they needed to open their mind and the heart for the coming of the Messiah when that would be and so that was the purpose of John’s baptism whereas the baptism of Jesus was radically different. It is a baptism by which redemption comes about, that infusion of the Holy Spirit that brings about the forgiveness of sin and that whole new life of grace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit have become adopted sons and daughters of God and that we are co-heirs to eternal life as we are reminded in that second reading today and so it’s a very beautiful reality that we celebrate in celebrating our baptism into Christ Jesus and this feast of the Baptism of the Lord reminds us not only of the beginning of Christ’s mission, but also of our own life in union with Christ. It’s a time for us to stop and think about what does it mean for me to be a baptized person and how do I live out that baptism within the daily context of my life. There’s many ways we could approach that, but one of those I believe is with gratitude, that we approach life with a spirit of gratitude and that’s really what the spirituality of stewardship is really about. It’s about recognizing the blessings that we have and particularly the spiritual blessings of the forgiveness of our sins that whole new life of grace and that promise of eternal life with God and how grateful we should live each day. That spirituality of stewardship is one that invites us first, to think about our blessings and then how can we be grateful for those blessings and then how can we be grateful for those blessings and in stewardship we are invited to share in time and talent and treasure, time for prayer of taking time for prayer of taking time dedicated to the Lord each day and each week, of talent for service of allowing our talents to be used for the good of others in service in the spirit of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve and finally in terms of our treasure, yes, to use that treasure for the support of our Parish and of the challenges that are ours.
In our Parish this weekend we do take the opportunity to think about stewardship and about our own commitment in terms of time, talent, and treasure. In this coming week you’re going to be receiving some information about that in the mail and I’m going to ask you to take some time to think about that and to think about your commitment in those three areas during this season and during this year of 2020 and so it’s an invitation for us to stop and reflect and to renew that commitment of our baptism to live as disciples. There’s a video that was put together that we will have at this time.”
From Fr. Tom’s Homily Epiphany Sunday 1/5/20 “We recall the fact that the Wise Men when they came they offered gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Gold for a king. Frankincense for a priest. Myrrh used in burial recognizing Jesus as the sufferer, that savior through his death and ultimate resurrection and so those gifts express that gratitude of the Wise Men, but we too are called to bring a gift to Christ. We too have a very special gift to offer to Christ the King and it is not Frankincense or Myrrh, none of those things at all, but rather it is the gift of our life, it is the gift of who we are, it’s the gift of our love that we bring and present to the Christ Child to the savior of us all. Every time we come to Mass, there’s one gift that we bring to offer in gratitude for all that God does for us and that is the gift of our own love. The one thing that God does not have that we have is the gift of our self and that is the gift that we are called to bring and when those gifts are brought forward at the offertory time, those bread and wine, they really at that point symbolize us. They symbolize our lives, they symbolize our gratitude, our love and so we need to place ourselves on that paten to make that wine be an expression of the gift of ourself at each and every Eucharist that we share. That’s the beautiful gift that we have to offer.”
Sharon Weems, Business Manager: “What a joy it is to be part of such a generous community here at Church of the Ascension where our parish family so faithfully makes sacrifices and gives back in gratitude for all that God has given us.
In this past year many activities and fruits of our strong parish life were blessed by the gifts you shared despite challenges we faced in our culture and financial responsibilities. Thank you to all who serve and offer financial contributions. Our many ministries, employees and leaders at the parish are grateful for the participation, generosity, and faith you bring to the Church and beyond. We pray for unending blessings and how we can show our gratitude for all that we have in this coming year so that we may continue to joyfully proclaim, celebrate, witness and serve Jesus Christ.”
“Certainly I want to echo that thank you. You, the people of this parish are so tremendously generous in supporting your parish community and as each of us do our own fair share it makes so many wonderful things possible through our parish community and so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the generosity of so many and that’s really the invitation that we give this week is to stop and think about our current blessings, where we’re at at this point and for all of us to be responsive. You will receive a stewardship sign-up form again for time, talent as well as financial commitment. We ask you to fill that out, send it back to the Parish next weekend in the collection or else just mail it back to the Parish Office, but hope to hear from each and every family or individual within our parish, but again, for your wonderful generosity in living that spirit of gratitude through stewardship.”