15th January 2017 – 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time (A)

Last Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, we renewed our Baptism promises and we had a special blessing for children who were baptised in our parish during 2016.  Today’s gospel continues the theme of baptism as John the Baptist tells us that Jesus received the Holy Spirit at his baptism. Jesus is the one Isaiah speaks about who is to bring God’s salvation to the entire world, and by virtue of our own baptism we are called to share in that mission.
Our baptism is a family and a parish celebration, as we become part of the Christian community.  No one is saved by herself or himself, we are saved as part of God’s people, in community. Baptism makes us members of the mystical body of Christ, and of the people of God, a pilgrim people.   Our pilgrim journey is through our individual lives to the end, while as a people we journey through history. We are called to be disciples of the Lord and missionaries, bearers of his message of hope.  Our baptism must not be merely a memory, a ritual or an event in the past.  It is to be a lived reality as we become real followers of Christ, in a word Christians.
Pope Francis reminds us that “All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization…called to personal involvement (Joy of the Gospel n.120).”  In spite of our weakness, our failures and our sins we try to follow Jesus and to share his message, preaching by example, often without words.  We can only do this with God’s help and that help, that grace, is given to us by virtue of our baptism.

Sunday, 15 January 2017 is the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees and we remember and pray for the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence.  Pope Francis comments that children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection.  The Pope made this comment in a message on the theme of ‘Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless’ for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees 2017. In his message, the Pope called for greater protection and integration of immigrants and refugees who are minors, especially those who are unaccompanied.
‘Minors are especially fragile, vulnerable and often invisible and voiceless – unable to claim or unaware of their rights and needs,’ he said.  In particular, they have ‘the right to a healthy and secure family environment, where a child can grow under the guidance and example of a father and a mother,’ the Pope said.  ‘Children, furthermore, have the right to recreation,’ he added. ‘In a word, they have the right to be children.’
We are asked to join with Pope Francis and the Council for Immigrants of the Irish Bishops’ Conference in drawing attention to the refugee crisis, in particular the plight of minor migrants.

Prayer for Children Immigrating Alone
Mary, you travelled alone
To reach the loving embrace
Of your beloved family member.
Elizabeth welcomed you with
Open arms and an open heart.

Be with those children
Who are travelling across borders
To seek solace with family.
Protect them from exploitation
And from traumatising experiences.

Teach us by
The example of the Visitation.
Grant us open arms
And open hearts
To receive your children
Trying to find the way
To a new, life-giving home.

Mary, Mother of the human family,
Help us end the misery
Of children separated from family
By man-made borders
But not by love.
May they arrive, as you did,
To joy and to the benediction
Of a loving embrace. Amen.

Deaths: We remember in our prayers Michael Connolly, O’Connell Avenue who died recently. We extend our sympathy to his family.

“Do this in Memory” Mass next Sunday 22nd January at 10.00 am, Meeting of parent class representatives on this Monday 9th January at 7.30pm in Fr. Billy’s house.

Diocesan Quarterly Collection at all Masses this weekend   14th /15th January to support the work of the dioceses.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18th – 25th January.  The theme this year, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, is Crossing Barriers. We pray for mutual understanding, friendship and respect between the Christian Churches, remembering always Jesus’ prayer to the Father, that all may be one.

Calling all ladies. Do you like to sing? Free singing course starts Wednesday January 18th in The Cork & County Cricket Club, 7.45 to 9.00 pm. Come and learn to sing in harmony with your local Barbershop Chorus, Champagne Cork. Contact Ursula for details at 0868580885 or umulvihill@eircom.net