Two things today!
Firstly, since we close off the Christmas season by celebrating the Baptism of the Lord, I have yet another opportunity that I can’t pass up to refer you, yet again, to the Songs of the Suffering Servant. Dare I say this again? The words quoted above, from Luke’s version of the baptism of Jesus, are a veiled reference to the first verse of the first of four Songs of the Suffering Servant that we find in the prophet Isaiah. The full text of this first Song is to be found on page 147 of the Sunday Missal. By quoting the first verse of the first of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant in his account of Jesus’ baptism, Luke is saying that Jesus is being baptized in order to be, in his life and ministry, the fulfilment of these four poems. And so they become for us a very precious indicator of the meaning of Jesus’ life and ministry. More importantly, they reveal to us who he really was: not an obvious God loosely veiled in a human body, but simply a man hiding within himself an invisible Divinity. It’s impossible to appreciate Jesus fully unless you perceive his simple manhood, which, unfortunately, is not obvious in the New Testament. It is strikingly so in the Songs of the Suffering Servant. So I invite you again to read these poems carefully, attentively, bearing in mind that they are speaking of Jesus. They will soak into you. And when you go back to the New Testament, and to the gospels and Acts in particular, you will read them differently. You will see the Suffering Servant of God everywhere.
I have replenished the supply of copies of the Songs of the Suffering Servant. They are on the white rack in the foyer. And I remind you that you can also find them on any Bible website. I personally like the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Just google USCCB, then click “Bible”. On the drop-down menu, click “Books of the Bible”, then “Isaiah”. The chapter numbers appear. You will find the Songs of the Suffering Servant in the first verses of chapters 42, 49, 50, and in 52,13-53.12.
By the grace of God, may the Songs of the Suffering Servant open your hearts and minds to understand the identity of Jesus, as they have opened mine.
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Secondly: We have decided to offer, for the third time, a mass Convalidation. That is to say, we offer to all couple who are married civilly the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of marriage in an uncomplicated, low-cost, no-frills event. This event will take place on Saturday October 12, 2019. The deadline for signing up is February 3rd, not far from now. To enquire into this offer, email Riz Geronimo at email@example.com. She will provide you with all the information you need, and sign you up if you are interested. By being married sacramentally, you will receive the grace of the mysteriously beautiful oneness of sacramental marriage, a oneness as close as that which exists between Christ and his Body, the Church. Please give this serious consideration. Speak to people who are married sacramentally, and ask them if it has made a difference in their lives, in their marriage…