This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. It marks the end of our Christmas Season. Our Catechism states, “Jesus begins his public life after having himself baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan.” It further indicates that although the baptism by John was intended for sinners, “Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.”
As we celebrate this feast, we are reminded that the Sacrament of Baptism is the gateway to the other sacraments. As noted in our Catechism, “Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification.” Baptism is also an important step in our faith journey. In a recent address, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis stated, “The sacrament assumes a journey of faith.” He noted, “In virtue of the Holy Spirit, baptism immerses us in the death and resurrection of the Lord, drowning the old man in the baptismal font, dominated by the sin that divides us from God, a giving birth to the new man recreated in Christ.” He further noted, “Immersing us in Christ, baptism also makes us members of his body, which is the Church, and participates in its mission in the world.”
As we focus on the Baptism of Our Lord, and on the words of Our Holy Father, this Sunday we also focus on the mission of the Mustard Seed Communities (MSC). Our Church reminds us that we are called to respect the fundamental dignity of the human person and hope to see that dignity reflected in all God’s children. This respect for God’s children is reflected in the work of the Mustard Seed Communities. It cares for several hundred children and adults. Many of these children and adults have special physical and mental health needs, and some had been abandoned by their families. MSC strives to protect the most vulnerable of God’s people. It has facilities in Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Africa. It also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide educational opportunities to local populations.
As mentioned previously, Saint Brigid Parish supports MSC primarily through its spiritual and financial assistance. Our parishioners also participate in mission trips to assist in the construction of Churches at MSC facilities and assist in the construction of appropriate housing for children and adults in need. Some of our parishioners have also adopted children from the various communities of Mustard Seed. Representatives of MSC will be available after the Masses this weekend to answer questions about MSC and the work it does. Please prayerfully consider supporting MSC as we stand united with the least of our brothers and sisters.