Our Christmas Season ends this Sunday as we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord. Our Catechism indicates that Jesus began his public life after being baptized by John the Baptist. It also states 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 in an address, as reported by the media outlet “Catholic News Service”, Pope Francis called the sacrament of baptism “the foundation of Christian life.” As the first of the seven sacraments, he said baptism “is the door that permits Christ the Lord to make his dwelling in us and allows us to immerse ourselves in his mystery.” Our Holy Father also stated that “Baptism immerses us in the death and resurrection of the Lord…giving birth to the new man, recreated in Jesus.” He called baptism a gift which “illuminates our entire life.” He suggested that “We should all know the date of our baptism. It is another birthday, it is the day of our rebirth.”
As we focus on the Baptism of Our Lord, the sacrament of baptism, 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. As mentioned previously, MSC 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.
Saint Brigid Parish supports MSC primarily through its spiritual and financial assistance. Some of our parishioners have adopted children from the various communities of Mustard Seed. In the past, some of our parishioners have participated in mission trips to assist in the construction of Churches at MSC facilities and also assisted in the construction of appropriate housing for children and adults in need. However, due primarily to the sustained impact on the COVID-19 virus, these mission trips have been temporarily suspended. 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 the mission of the Mustard Seed Communities.