Attendees in tears during a musical performance at a memorial for the victims of flight PS752 at the University of Alberta.Lincoln Ho, Grandin Media

Here in Edmonton people are reeling from the terrible fact that thirty of our fellow Edmontonians were killed in that plane shot down outside of Tehran. This unspeakably atrocious event is a vivid and jarring reminder that our world is in many ways a very dangerous place, marked by tensions among nations and the tragic consequences thereof, suffered mostly by innocent people. Particularly striking is the fact that this event took place in the final days of the Christmas season, which on Sunday drew to a close. In this sacred time we have heralded the birth of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, and his revelation among us as Saviour of the world. Yet the tragic occurrence in Tehran, and so many other instances of suffering and grief, serve as stark reminders that the peace and light Christ came to bring have yet fully to be embraced.

In this context, the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord offers an important and timely reminder of the significance of our own Baptism. People baptized in Christ do not have the option of sitting back as passive spectators upon a world gone awry. The baptized are sent into the world with the message of the Gospel, which alone has the power to bring the true and lasting reconciliation we all seek. From the moment we are baptized, the life of Jesus becomes the principle of our own, which means that our Christian life is shaped by consciously imitating Christ in all that we do and by accepting as our own the mission that belongs properly to him. Some aspects of that mission are adumbrated for us in the sacred texts given for the Feast.

Praise the Lord

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