Thursday, 8 January 2015

11/1/15 Come to the water all you who are thirsty!

The Baptism of the Lord (Year B)

Welcome to a little liturgy.  I have been blogging now for a few months and am certainly finding that the process is changing the way I relate to the Liturgy of the Word!  I hope you are finding some useful resources.  Please do leave comments and suggestions, so that I can find out which resources have worked for you.  My New Year's resolution is to post some pictures and artwork and to try to make the activities a little more visual and printable.  However, computer code is not my forte, so I may need to seek help from the younger generation!  If this is your first visit, do click on "Introducing a little liturgy" under "popular posts" to find out a little more.  Thank you for logging on!

Summary of Liturgy of the Word

(N.B. The Missal also allows for the First and Second readings and Psalm of Year A to be used along with the Gospel of Year B but I have chosen Year B.)

First Reading
Isaiah 55:1-11
In the reading from Isaiah, we are told that we should pay attention to the life of our souls.  God will make an everlasting covenant with us.  We should look for the Lord by giving up wicked ways and evil thoughts and turning back to him.  God's word is like the rain and the snow - it falls on earth to make things grow.

Is 12:2-6 R.v.3
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Second Reading
1 John 5:1-9
John tells us simply to love God by keeping the commandments.  He says we can overcome the world by believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Mark 1:7-11
John the Baptist had said that someone was coming after him and that he was a much greater man.  He said that he baptised with water but that this other person would baptise with the Holy Spirit.
Soon Jesus came to John to be baptised in the Jordan.  As he came out of the water he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him.  A voice from heaven said, "You are my son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you".


In all three readings we see the theme of renewal and turning back to God.  This theme is developed by references to water and in the psalm we are told of the "wells of salvation".  We need to be washed from sin to become spiritually clean.  
Ritual washing was a big part of Jewish life at the time of Christ.  Jewish men would immerse themselves in water before entering the sacred part of the temple.  Even today, those wishing to convert to Judaism may be immersed to show that they are spiritually clean.  Many women also do this before they are married.  Jewish men will also do ablutions with prayers before eating.
John's baptism with water could be seen as an extension of this ritual immersion.  We might wonder why it was necessary for Christ to receive this baptism because he was already free from sin.  When John is uncertain about this, Jesus insists that he should continue.  Symbolically, we could see this as Jesus highlighting the importance of baptism and turning from sin.  He also participated in many Jewish traditions, showing that his way was a continuation of the Jewish way.
One of the important things about this scripture passage is that it shows God the Father speaking, God the Son being baptised and God the Holy Spirit being present.  Many scholars use this passage to illustrate the belief in the Trinity.

Activities for Mass

Most of us cannot remember our own baptisms but we know that our parents and God parents made promises for us.  They replied "I do" to these questions:

1) Do you reject Satan?  And all his works?   And all his empty promises?  

2) Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? 

3) Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? 

4) Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

In the creed at Mass we repeat these  beliefs.  Look at the words of the creed below and see if you can underline those that express the baptismal promises.  

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, 
maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. 
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, 
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; 
Through him all things were made. 

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, 
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, 
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day 
in accordance with the Scriptures. 
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead 
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, 
the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, 
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, 
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. 
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins 
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. 


Now put a cross by any phrases you don't understand.  Check their meanings at home.  

Other activities and useful resources

When we are baptised we are not baptised "Catholic" but as Christians.  We are baptised "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".  This is called the Trinitarian formula and reflects our belief in God as three persons.  

In the Gospel today, the Holy spirit is referred to as being "like a dove" and God's voice comes from heaven.  
Try to gather some other images that we associate with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
Below are some pictures to help.  Try and link these to passages in the Bible.  

picture A

picture B

Think about how you might choose to represent Go the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  

I hope you have enjoyed a little liturgy this week.

All the best!


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