|Baptism of the Lord by James Tissot|
The Christmas season is not yet complete. It ends with the celebration this coming weekend of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. (We return to Ordinary Time on Monday, January 10.)
You can find the readings for this weekend and background material on them here.
If you're shepherding children to Mass you can look here for hints on helping young ones prepare to hear the Word.
We are coming to the close of a season* of Theophany: manifestations, appearances of God among us.
The word Theophany comes to us from the Greek (Θεοφάνεια - Τheophaneia) which means "appearance of God." Three feasts in a row celebrate the appearance of God in Christ: Christmas, Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord.
*A new liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent. The four Sundays before December 25 are the Four Sundays of Advent. The Sunday in the Octave of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family. Epiphany, formerly celebrated on January 6, is transferred, in many parts of the Catholic world, to the Sunday closest to January 6. The Sunday after Epiphany is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (although depending on other calendar peculiarities, the Baptism of the Lord is sometimes celebrated on a weekday). The Sunday after the Baptism of the Lord, the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, features, every year, a gospel passage from John, which continues the manifestation theme of this season on the calendar. If you're really paying attention, you might be wondering, "What happened to the First Sunday in Ordinary Time?" The answer to that question can be found here.
Now, let's put away the liturgical calendar and give our attention to this coming Sunday's scriptures!
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