• David Carlson

667 We have been given to one another!

Day 667 Wednesday, January 12, 2022

When the Church teaches that baptism washes away the stain of Original Sin, we mean that it is possible to accompany those who are lonely, marginalized, widowed and afraid. We have been given to one another.

(Painting by Hermine)


Today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord – the end of the Christmas season.

I remember, back when I was in high school, asking my teacher a question:

If Jesus is really divine, why did he need to be baptized?

Looking back on my precocious youth as a budding theologian, I think it’s a pretty good question. Maybe you have asked this question yourself. It’s not like Jesus had to have the “stain of original sin” washed off his soul. Why did he need to be baptized?

I don’t remember what my teacher said in response. No matter. I want to give my own answer today.

Some months ago, I brought a boule ( bread resembling a squashed ball) of my grandmother’s Irish soda bread to a family here in Sonoma. This bread has butter and sugar and raisins. I use a really good flour and fresh buttermilk. I call it pan dulce when I bring it to our Mexican families. Of course, it’s soda bread, not real pan dulce, but the kids like it. Toast it and spread a little butter over it in the morning.

I sat in the kitchen with the mother of this family and traded pleasantries with her for about ten minutes or so. Then, suddenly, this good woman said,

Padre, I’m afraid.

Three years ago, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack. He was a gardener, a jardinero – a “mower and blower” as some say. I knew him, but certainly not well enough. He was good man – good to his children and good to his wife. He was certainly a man of faith. The man died and left his wife with four kids – two of them still in the fourth grade.

Padre, I’m afraid.

The twins are in seventh grade now. I am happy to say that they both do well in school. They never get into trouble and are affectionate toward their mom. The mom is trying to hold the family together by cleaning houses. (Let me know if you have any work for her). The other two kids are old enough to have jobs. All the kids are helping out in their own way.

I think the family will be okay. But all the same, I stop in with bread from time to time. I don’t know what else to do.

(Painting by Hermine)


Padre, I’m afraid.

We were just making small talk when she said this. She didn’t need to explain what she meant. And when she said this, I paused for a moment as my mind filled up with stupid, useless things to say in response to this simple eloquent revelation of her humanity.

In the end, I reached across the kitchen table and put my hand in hers and told her the truth.

I said,

I’m afraid too.

On this feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I recommend that we reflect on what is one of the great teachings of our faith: In being baptized, we have been given to one another. When we baptize a child, God is entrusting us to one another for safekeeping.

When the Church teaches that baptism washes away the stain of Original Sin, we mean that the million and one things that separate us from one another have been overcome by Christ’s gentle love. For all our differences, we are no longer strangers to one another.

When the Church teaches that baptism washes away the stain of Original Sin, we mean that it is possible to accompany those who are lonely, marginalized, widowed and afraid. We have been given to one another.

Why did the Messiah kneel before John in the Jordan River to be baptized?

I think this is his way of reaching across the table and placing his hand in ours and saying to all of us who are widowed and afraid,


I’m afraid too.


(Painting by Hermine)


Announcements for Today January 12, 2022

Announcement #1:

Please put this on our calendar:

From Victoria: Liturgy Committee Meeting Scheduled for


Tuesday, January 25th from 3:00 to 4:30


Join Zoom Meeting (Everyone Welcome!)


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5193158573


Passcode: 1234

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573


(This notice will be republished in the days to come)


Please call or Email Victoria with questions:




Larry, Bill Boorman's partner is asking for someone interested in housing Bill’s cat at their home until Bill returns from the hospital. It would be greatly appreciated. Larry just can’t do it. If someone can do this, please contact Victoria and I will let Larry know, so he can arrange a way to get the cat to them.

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