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SPIRITUAL MASS FOR THE BAPTISM OF JESUS



✠In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

In today’s celebration we recall Our Lord's

second manifestation or epiphany,

which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan.


Where we have failed to live-up to the promises

made for us or by us at our baptism,

let us acknowledge our sins,

and so prepare ourselves

to celebrate the sacred mysteries.


I confess to almighty God

that I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

all the Angels and Saints,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.


May Almighty God have mercy on us, ✠ forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


The Collect:


Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


READING TItus 2:11-14.


God’s grace has been revealed,

and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race

and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything

that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions;

we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives

here in this present world,

while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come

with the Appearing of the glory

of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus.


He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free

from all wickedness and to purify a people

so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition

except to do good.



Alleluia, alleluia!

Someone is coming, said John, someone greater than I.

He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire

Alleluia!


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke. 3:15-16. 21-22


A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people,

who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ,

so John declared before them all,

“I baptise you with water, but someone is coming,

someone who is more powerful than I am

and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals;

he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”


Now when all the people had been baptised

and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer,

heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him

in bodily shape, like a dove.

And a voice came from heaven,

“You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.”



THE HOMILY


I feel a bit cheated.

Only last Thursday in our Lectionary Jesus was just a few days old,

and we, alongside gift-bearing Visitors from the East;

were gazing at a swaddled baby.

Somehow in three days we move from a pre-toddler baby

to Mary and Joseph, refugees, escaping with the young Jesus

to safety for two years in Egypt;

then to the Temple in Jerusalem,

where a stroppy teenager tells His Parents

they were stupid for not realising he was in “His Father’s House”!


Three days later, and here we are, standing in a long line of people

by the banks of the Jordan River.

Ahead of us, waist-deep in the water, is John the Baptist,

the charismatic rebel-rouser, bellowing a no-nonsense message

about those who John labelled “a brood of vipers” and “sinners”,

and best of all, his rebuke of Herod … to quote Luke: “because of his

marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things

he had done.”…. words which were to cost John his life.

Back to this long line of penitent people….

Behind us, patiently waiting at the very end of the line,

stands a quiet figure, the one whom John has just spoken about,


“someone who is more powerful than I am,

and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals;

he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”


Today’s “Epiphany”, manifestation, is of the God who waits with us,

the God who doesn’t push Himself to the front of the queue,

the God who is humble and wants to fit in.

We don’t have the dialogue in Luke’s Gospel between John and Jesus

that we do in others: In Matthew’s Gospel for instance…..

John says to Jesus -


“I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” and Jesus replies: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” Then John consented.”


Jesus stood patiently with a number of people in that line

who, in coming to John for Baptism,

just wanted to live a decent life under God,

acknowledging their shortcomings,

and intending to do better in future.

Jesus, in this first public act in His ministry,

identified himself with all these,

and by submitting Himself to the Baptism of John,

Jesus stated clearly that He is on the side of all those

who are doing and trying their best,

who are trying to live up to the ideals of the Gospel.

And Jesus is on our side too, if we who have been baptised

are similarly doing our best, trying our best,

trying to live-up to the ideals of the Gospel.

The Baptism of Jesus marked the beginning of His Messianic journey,

on which journey He was never alone.

During that journey He kept in constant touch with His Father

in prayer and contemplation.

It was a journey which He couldn’t make alone,

and nor can we.

Prayer with the One who journeys with us is essential

if we are to know where we are heading and how to reach it.

We try our best, but we need to keep in constant touch

with He who is our Navigator.


If along the way we fail, it is not the end of the world:

Jesus became vulnerable to assure us that He understands;

the assurance that we are forgiven was what Christ

strove to remind people throughout his ministry.

We will lose direction at many points on the journey…..

Our response - Keep trying, keep praying!



THE PROFESSION OF FAITH


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

He ascended into heaven,

He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

And he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.



PRAYERS - (from FaithandWorship.com)


For all whose day starts with anxiety,

as they leave the security of home

worrying about the risk of infection;

particularly those whose health

or age classifies them as vulnerable.

Loving God, be close, keep them safe,

along with all whose tasks today

includes the care of frail and elderly.

And for all of us, grant wisdom

to make sensible choices, not just

for ourselves, but for everybody.


Help us to put aside preconceptions

about other people,

because that alters our behaviour,

and may we simply accept that they, like us,

are precious in your eyes.


Loving God, we give thanks for the extended family

of local communities assisting with the needs

of both frail and elderly confined to their homes.

May every gift of love, every encouraging word,

bring hope into lonely lives, and a blessing to the giver.


We ask Mary to pray with us, as we with her

bring our care and concern for the situation

in which we find ourselves


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.


Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


Today and all days

embrace us in a love that knows no end.

Today and all days

fill us with a power that overcomes.

Today and all days

encourage us with a word that nourishes.

Today and all days

inspire us with a hope that sustains.

Today and all days

comfort us with a peace that endures.

Today and all days…..

Son of God and Son of Mary,

you received your baptism from John

and you invited your disciples to receive the Holy Spirit.

Pour your grace upon all the baptized

and grant that we may work together

for the justice and peace which belong to your kingdom. Amen.



At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:


Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.


Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,

graciously grant peace in our days,

that, by the help of your mercy,

we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress,

as we await the blessed hope

and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.


For the kingdom,

the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


SPIRITUAL COMMUNION – A prayer from Fr. Ron Rolheiser


Still my heart, so that I may know that you are God,

that I may know that you create and sustain my every breath,

that you breathe the whole universe into existence every second,

that everyone, myself no less than everyone else, is your beloved,

that you want our lives to flourish,

that you desire our happiness,

that nothing falls outside your love and care,

and that everything and everybody is safe in your gentle, caring hands,

in this world and the next.


Lord, I am not worthy

that you should enter under my roof,

but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.



Time to sit quietly to receive the Lord’s Presence

spiritually.




“My Jesus, I believe that You are present

in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart …

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You,”


THE PRAYER OF SURRENDER


Father, I abandon myself into your hands;

do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you:

I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,

and in all your creatures—

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,

for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,

to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,

and with boundless confidence,

for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld.



May God the Father,

who led the wise men by the shining of a star

to find the Christ, the Light from Light,

lead you also in your pilgrimage to find the Lord. Amen.


May God the Son,

who turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana,

transform your lives and make glad your hearts. Amen.


May God the Holy Spirit, who came upon the beloved Son

at his baptism in the river Jordan, pour out his gifts on you

who have come to the waters of new birth. Amen.


And may the blessing of almighty God,

the Father, the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,

come down upon us, and remain with us for ever. Amen.


THE ANGELUS


The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary. Holy Mary.

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us.

Hail Mary. Holy Mary.


Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Let us pray.

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us go in peace.

Thanks be to God.





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