This Sunday, Jan. 12, the Catholic Church will be celebrating the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. has shared a reflection on why Jesus was baptized and what it means for us:
John’s baptism was accompanied by his preaching “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4).” A similar explanation is found in the other three Gospels. John was offering his Jewish audience an opportunity to acknowledge their sins and to repent of them. He was preparing them for the coming of the Messiah: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2)!”
Since Jesus had no need to repent, we look for another reason for his Baptism by John. When John encountered Jesus at the Jordan, he resisted baptizing him but Jesus responded in Matthew’s account, “Allow it now, for this it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).” Jesus’ Baptism had a symbolic motivation.
When Jesus emerged from the Jordan, God’s voice was heard identifying him as “my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22).” His Baptism would be the second “manifestation” of his identity as Messiah in the Christmas story, a prelude to the mission and ministry that would follow.
Bishop O’Connell joined Domestic Church Media Jan. 10 as he hosted his monthly radio program “The Shepherd’s Voice.”
The Bishop discussed with DCM host Jim Manfredonia some of the special activities and observances that are unfolding this month, including: upcoming Respect Life events near home and in Washington D.C. that mark the anniversary of Roe. v. Wade legalizing abortion in the U.S.; the newly established “Word of God Sunday” coming up on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time; Catholic Schools Week, which kicks off Jan. 26, and much more.
The January episode of “The Shepherd’s Voice”, can be heard Jan. 11 at 4 p.m., Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. and Jan. 13 at 8 a.m. on WFJS 1260AM, WFJS 89.3FM, WGYM 1580AM or WSMJ 91.9FM.
The New Jersey Legislature has passed S3804/A5508 that would eliminate a long-standing religious employers’ exemption contained in state law requiring health insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
If signed into law, the legislation would force Catholic organizations such as schools, dioceses and social service agencies to offer employees health benefits that violate fundamental Catholic principles.
State residents are being urged to contact Gov. Phil Murphy and ask that he conditionally veto the legislation to protect the religious employers’ exemption.