Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Let me begin with an advertisement:

EVERY HOUSEHOLD NEEDS A COPY OF THE New  American Bible, Revised Edition - NAMBRE for short. There is a version called the Catholic Study Bible put out by Oxford University Press. It has one of the best short clear introductions to the Old and New Testaments you can find.

I always give one of these to someone exploring Catholicism. Where else does that journey begin but in God's own self-revelation?

I'm happy to share my stash with you. I have copies you can buy, or I will happily give you one if you promise to read it. (Books are too expensive these days.) You can also get an inexpensive large print edition of the NAMBRE. The notes in the bible itself are excellent. In fact, the one I'm quoting in this Twitch is one of them. You just can't get the Introduction study section with a large print edition.

Sorry to be going on about this, but the reason I started this way is because of the special scene we encounter at the baptism of Jesus. Even though today's gospel is from Luke, it is Matthew's version that always gets me going. Matthew is the one who tells the story about Jesus getting in line with all the sinners that were coming to John the Baptist to receive his baptism of repentance. John must have been one heck of a preacher because they were lined up in droves waiting to be dunked and forgiven.

Then, who shows up in the line but Jesus. Jesus? Isn't he supposed to be sinless? So, Matthew gives us the conversation between Jesus and his cousin. John asks Jesus why he is there. "I should be baptized by you, not the other way around." That's when Jesus says, "Do it for the sake of righteousness." What does that mean?
Well if you had the NAMBRE you'd be able to read the following note:

[Mt:3:14–15] This dialogue, peculiar to Matthew, reveals John’s awareness of Jesus’ superiority to him as the mightier one who is coming and who will baptize with the holy Spirit (Mt 3:11). His reluctance to admit Jesus among the sinners whom he is baptizing with water is overcome by Jesus’ response. To fulfill all right-eousness: in this gospel to fulfill usually refers to fulfillment of prophecy, and righteousness to moral conduct in conformity with God’s will. Here, however, as in Mt 5:6; 6:33, righteousness seems to mean the saving activity of God. To fulfill all righteousness is to submit to the plan of God for the salvation of the human race. This involves Jesus’ identification with sinners; hence the propriety of his accepting John’s baptism.

(I added the bold print.)

Today's Feast of the Baptism of Jesus begins our Ordinary Time. We start re-telling the story of Jesus, this year according to Luke. How fascinating that Jesus's public life begins with his very private withdrawal to the desert to fast and pray. That's the way to begin important things. The story even comes complete with the temptation to self-doubt when evil personified shows up. Jesus handles it. Already, Jesus is giving us the example, and by that example telling us that because he is one of us, we have the power to act like him.

So... what will 2019 bring? ...deserts? ...joys? ...sadness? ...mysteries? ...challenges? ... victories?

Stay tuned, folks. Off we go!
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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