A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

The new year. Time to learn something new? There are lots of areas we could concentrate on. Learn to live a healthier life. Learn to cook like Julia Child. Learn plumbing, blacksmithing… Get another degree? One area long neglected and re-emerging in learning circles is apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer many advantages. Millions leave college each year with long term debt, little practical training, and difficult job prospects while apprenticeships cost nothing and provide learners with health care and pension benefits, paid practical training, highly marketable and in-demand skills, no debt, and earning prospects of $145,000 to $175,000 per year. We might feel it is difficult to go back and start over, but there is one apprenticeship that is always open and available to everyone: Being a Disciple of Jesus. Factually, that is what being a disciple means – a learner, a student, an apprentice. In 2019 we are called to renewed discipleship, to apprenticing with the Master and Teacher of all. This year we are to dedicate ourselves to learning and doing with Jesus as His disciples! This apprenticeship is to focus on aligning our lives with that of the Teacher, learning His ways, first imitating and then integrating His behaviors, approaching people as He does, and inviting them into this school of discipleship. The key to this year of learning is our doing. A plumber’s apprentice has to get in there and carry the pipes, sweat them together. An electrician’s apprentice has to splice wire with his teacher. In the same way, as Jesus sent out the seventy-two learners/apprentices/disciples, we must apply our efforts in practical ways alongside our Master. Ready to learn something new, and put that learning into practice? Ready to do the one thing that guarantees success and great benefits? Sign the Jesus Union card and Disciple now!

January, the New Year, and we wish all of our followers, Jesus’ disciples in training, a very happy and blessed new year.

There is much going on – and we want to make sure you are well informed and ready to put your resolutions into high gear. It is about doing what is healthful and positive and we cannot get any greater health and positive force than from Jesus.

Read about our upcoming annual meeting, put yourself in running and do something to keep YOUR parish going. For the 18th year we are participating in the SouperBowl of Caring – feeding the hungry in our local community. Get your Valentine’s Raffle tickets sold and in. It is really important. Offer Holy Mass for a loved one. Set up a house blessing. Get in on Music Scholarships. Read and integrate “The Most Important Thing We Can Do To Be Successful In The New Year.”

Check out all this and more in our January 2019 Newsletter.

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Baptism of our Lord

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Reveal what
has been revealed to you

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

We know that John preached a baptism of repentance. He was calling all of Israel to repent, starting with washing in the waters of the Jordan in preparation for the coming of the Messiah who was “at hand.”

Jesus obviously had no need for a baptism of repentance. He is God and is without any sin or error. John immediately recognized this as Jesus approached him: John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”

Yet Jesus came and insisted.

Jesus was baptized because He wished to cleanse the waters. We are baptized in the waters He cleansed, waters imbued with His grace of regeneration. In being baptized Jesus set an example for everyone who would follow him. After all, if the sinless Son of God would willingly enter the waters of baptism, how much more urgent is it that we be washed in the waters of regeneration.

While these reasons are of great importance to us, and are essential to our salvation, the key reason for Jesus’ baptism is that it was His anointing as King, High Priest, Prophet, and Messiah before all of Israel. In Acts we hear Peter telling Cornelius and his household that at the baptism of Jesus: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.

Jesus, sent by the Father to inaugurate the Kingdom definitively was anointed by the Holy Spirit and presented before all as fulfilling His office.

The beauty of our Epiphany-tide is that in it we celebrate the moments of Jesus’ revelation. He became known to the poor and lowly through the humble shepherds. The gentiles and the wider world knew Him through the Magi. He became known to all of Israel and took His rightful place through the fullness of revelation at His baptism where the Father called Him “my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” and where all heard it and saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Him in the form of a dove.

In the waters of regeneration we became one with Jesus. He is revealed to us in His word. Through the Church and our family we learn all about Him. We must bring the Epiphany to others; making them aware of what has been revealed to us. Invite and welcome them to the waters of regeneration, to oneness with Jesus, and to a share in His kingdom with us.

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Epiphany

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Does God play…
hide and seek?

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”

Have you ever stopped for directions? The typical joke is that a man will drive around for hours, trying to find a destination, while a woman would immediately stop and ask for directions.

From our reading of the scripture we see that the Wise Men/Kings/Astrologers/Magi did stop and ask directions. They received directions, an answer in response to their search for The Answer, and made their way to Bethlehem.

It seems inconsistent doesn’t it? The Wise Men were following a star. Besides being men, why would they stop for directions if they had the star to guide them?

The lesson here is that something greater was happening. We need to unfold the map, and get our directions by reading between the lines a little.

Certainly, the gospel account is true. The Astrologers saw a sign in the skies and intuited that something wonderful had happened. That intuition isn’t just some human trait, but God’s grace at work in them, asking them to take action. They chose to believe and act on that grace. They decided to believe and follow a light – a star.

The star they followed wasn’t just something in the sky; it was the light glowing in their hearts that drove them onward toward God. That light drove them toward Jesus, the reality of God’s promise to all people.

The Wise Men received a great blessing – from outside of God’s chosen people, God called these men. With the power of His love – that is, His grace – He called Gentile leaders to come to His Son. These representatives of all nations responded. They headed toward Jesus (stopping for directions along the way).

God doesn’t play hide-and-seek. His grace is for all people in the same way as was given to the Magi. The light of His star exists in all hearts as a little flicker, an ember. If we choose to act on that grace and head toward Jesus, that ember will be fanned into a great flame, greater than any star.

When touched by the spark of grace we must not brush it off or put it out. Rather we stop and ask directions. We start in our faith community, our local church. From there, we set out and find Him as fully as we are able. Finding Him we also become His messengers (like the Magi – who as travelers were also bearers of news). With a great light in us we go out and proclaim the Good News. God is not hiding – we only need to fan His many embers into great stars revealing Jesus to all.