Sunday Church at Home – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 09 January

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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

9th January, 2022


Sunday Church at Home

during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic



Jesus Reveals to Us the True Face of the Father.


The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:        In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:      Amen

Leader:        Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:      Blessed be God for ever

Leader:        Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the start of Ordinary Time. The readings herald the start of Jesus’ ministry as an adult.




First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5.9-11

Introduction to the reading: This passage from the book of Isaiah begins with God calling the prophet to encourage the Jewish people exiled in Babylon.  He is to tell them that they will be returning home soon, and the road of the return will pass through the desert.  We will also hear God call the people to proclaim from a mountaintop the goodness of God.


A reading from the Book of Isaiah.

Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd,
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

The word of the Lord.


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 104:1b-4.24-25.27-30 (R. 1)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!

O Lord my God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and honour,
wrapped in light as with a robe!
You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

On the waters, you establish your dwelling.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you ride on the wings of the wind.
You make the winds your messengers,
flame and fire your servants.

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom, you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
Vast and wide is the span of the sea,
with its creeping things past counting,
living things great and small.

All of these look to you
to give them their food in due season.
You give it, they gather it up;
you open wide your hand, they are well filled.

You hide your face, they are dismayed;
you take away their breath, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, and they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

R/. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!


Second reading: Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7

Introduction to the reading: The letter to Titus was written about 30 years after Paul’s death, and was written in Paul’s name, a practice common in the ancient world.  Titus was a traveling companion of Paul, and later was in charge of a Christian community on the island of Crete.  The verses we are about to hear are also read at Masses on Christmas.


A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus.


For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions
and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world,
awaiting our blessed hope,
the appearing of the glory
of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity
and to purify for himself a people of his own
who are zealous for good deeds.

But when the goodness and loving kindness
of God our Saviour appeared,
he saved us,
not because of deeds done by us in righteousness,
but in virtue of his own mercy,
by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit,
which he poured out upon us richly
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

The word of the Lord.


Alleluia, alleluia.
John said: He who is coming is mightier than I;
he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Gospel: Luke 3: 15-16.21-22

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

At that time:
As the people were in expectation,
and all questioned in their hearts concerning John the Baptizer,
whether perhaps he were the Christ,
John answered them all,
“I baptize you with water;
but he who is mightier than I is coming,
the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Now when all the people were baptized,
and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
the heaven was opened,
and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form,
as a dove,
and a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

The Gospel of the Lord.


Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

I would like to share with you an old joke. Little Johnny’s mother looked out the window and noticed him “playing Church” with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, “Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!” Johnny looked up at her and said, “He should have thought about that before he joined my church.” 😊

Jesus’ childhood has ended and we are introduced to the adult who is commencing his public ministry with the descent of the Holy Spirit and the proclamation to us that he is God’s “beloved Son.”

From now on all he does and says is as God’s beloved and under the influence of the Spirit. He is well-equipped for his life of mission and ministry.

In the first reading, Isaiah proclaims:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

This is the role of John the Baptizer – to prepare the way for the Lord.

Then Isaiah tells us how to recognise the Messiah:
“Behold your God!”
He will feed his flock like a shepherd,
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.”

Then the Gospel describes for us:
When Jesus had been baptized and was praying,
“the heaven was opened,
and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form,
as a dove,
and a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

Let these words about Jesus echo in our hearts:

“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

We are linked to Jesus through our own baptism. We too have been baptized as servants to a loving God. The baptized community is united to Christ and one another. When we were baptized we also received the Holy Spirit, and we began to experience the love of God in a more intimate way and were sent forth into the world.

The power of our baptism reminds us that we are a community connected to one another through our baptism. We are not saved by ourselves. We are not alone on our journey with Christ. We are a community on a pilgrimage together through history.

Take a look around us today in the church. We see a huge diversity of people.  We can see visible differences in our skin colour, the style of our clothes and our ages. Some are younger and some are older. When we talk we have lots of different accents. Some have English as a home language . Many have languages from around South Africa and from around the world as their home language.  See the cars we drive out of the parkade in after Mass. Catch sight of the different phones we carry. Some are plain and practical, others have the latest apps and features.

How did we ever get here, so varied, yet all in the same church? What draws us here today? Maybe we came to draw closer to God, or we need help with a problem and so we came to pray. That’s good, but there’s more. Being here brings us together with all these people around us in the pews. They may be very different from us, but we share the same baptism and are drawn together to follow more closely the one we call our Saviour.

What is the glue that keeps us together as a worshiping community, despite our complaints about the music, preaching, liturgical styles and the discomfort of the kneelers? The gospel tells us what that glue is: it’s the Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus at his baptism and strengthened him for his mission and the sacrifices that lay ahead of him.

Our baptism was our entrance into the life of the Spirit and it brings us into this community –  God’s community.

As part of God’s community, we share in the Mission of Jesus.

It is easy for each of to say: Umm, that’s okay – we can just leave to the priests and the sisters – that’s their job, not mine. We might say that God could have picked a better crew of workers to accomplish the plans God has for the world. We may not be extraordinary, but the fact is we have been anointed by the Holy Spirit.

So, we always have with us the intimate presence of God, the foundation of our lives and the driving energy that sends us into the world.

After Jesus’ baptism he went on mission. Our baptism calls us to do the same thing, in the many and diverse places God has sent us.

Jesus always prays at key moments of his ministry, even while he hangs on the cross. One place his Spirit has led us is here to worship. Together we are moved to pray; not only for our personal needs, but for the church, the community of the baptized. Still more, the Holy Spirit moves us to pray for our world, for peace and justice among peoples.

We may consider ourselves just ordinary people. Perhaps we don’t make a big splash, even in our personal worlds. Still, we are called to work gently in the world.

How and where can we do that? For two years now the world has been in a pandemic situation. We have experienced lockdowns. We have experienced four waves of infections. We have experienced isolation, fear and uncertainty. In the midst of all this, we have strived to connect with each other as God’s community to show our loving care and concern for each other.

We have learnt how to livestream Mass, prepare daily podcasts, to run Alpha, our baptism preparation course, our adult instruction course and catechism online. Zoom and Teams have become part of our lives.

We look to 2022 and ask – where is the Holy Spirit leading us? Our journey as parish and as Church is developing in news ways that we never dreamt of 10 years ago. We look forward to a new style of ministry that includes both meeting in person and meeting online in order to stay connected as God’s community. We need Ministers of Holy Communion to take the Body of Christ to those are isolated and housebound. We need catechism teachers as we move back to in person classes. We need volunteers to help develop our online ministry so that we can continue to livestream Mass and run courses and programs online.

We need financial support so that we can continue our ministries in person and online.

We pray today and trust that the way will be shown to us for God says to each one of us,

“I have grasped you by the hand. I formed you and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations….”

From today’s Gospel reading:

After all the people had been baptized,

and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,

heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit

descended upon him….


We might consider ourselves quite ordinary Christians, but the fact is, through our baptism, we have been anointed by the Spirit. So, we always have with us the intimate presence of God, the foundation of our lives and the driving energy that sends us into the world. After Jesus’ baptism he went on mission. Our baptism impels us to do similarly, in the many and diverse places God has sent us.

So we ask ourselves:

  • What difference does my baptism make in my everyday world?
  • Do I feel anointed by the Holy Spirit to be more of a witness to my faith? How?


Prayer of the Faithful


Let us bring our prayers to God our Father, who proclaimed Jesus as his beloved Son.


We pray for the Church: that we may recognize our calling to be daughters and sons of God, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, show God’s love and compassion through our words and deeds.


We pray for all who are preparing for baptism and for all who are newly baptised:
that they may be transformed by the waters of new life and allow the Spirit of God to guide their growth in faith, wisdom and holiness.

We pray for a renewal of the gift of the Holy Spirit: that God will stir up the gift of Spirit within us, make us strong in our faith and dynamic in love.

We pray for all who are sick: that the healing power of the Holy Spirit may work through the nurses, doctors and medical staff to bring an end to the Covid pandemic, and sustain all who care for the sick .

We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time:



We pray for Michael Davies who died during the week.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.  Amen.


Leader:         Let us pray our prayer for Vocations:

Loving and Generous God,

it is you who call us by name

and ask us to follow you.

Help us to grow in the love and service of our Church

as we experience it today.

Give us the energy and courage of your Spirit

to shape its future.

Grant us faith-filled leaders

who will embrace Christ’s mission of love and justice.
Bless the Church of the Resurrection

by raising up dedicated and generous leaders

from our families and friends

who will serve your people

as Sisters, Priests, Brothers, Deacons and Lay Ministers.
Inspire us to know You better

and open our hearts to hear your call.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord.



Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.


My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you. Amen.




Leader:        Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

All 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.  Amen.


Open the heavens,

almighty Father,

and pour out your Spirit

upon your people gathered in prayer.


Renew the power of our baptismal cleansing

and fill us with zeal for good deeds.

Let us hear your voice once again,

that we may recognise in your beloved Son

our hope of inheriting eternal life.


Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

in the splendour of eternal light,

one God for ever and ever.




A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:

Leader:        Let us pray for God’s Blessing:

May God, the source of every blessing,

grant us the fullness of grace

and keep us safe throughout the coming year of 2022.

R. Amen.


May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

All:               Amen.


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