The following reflection is written by Fr.Tom Cahill
According to one recycling agency Irelandís consumption of alcohol over Christmas would fill Ď29 Olympic-sized swimming poolsí. On average, adults drank 16 litres of alcohol or 2.5 times their own blood levels. If thatís hard to swallow try this: the nation gobbled 4 million boxes of chocolates; guzzled 54 million cans and 15 million bottles of beer, 20 million bottles of wine, 4 million plastic bottles and 28 million cans of soft drinks. Households disposed of 96,500 kg of packaging Ė equivalent to an adultís weight in cardboard per household Ė and 4 million sheets of gift-wrap paper. And that was in 2005! Just image what it must have been like every Christmas since then.
As Christmas celebrates Jesusí birth, how could recycling our waste produce seem more pressing a problem than renewing our faith in God and our service of each other? Our feasts are always occasions for renewal. Todayís feast, the Baptism of the Lord, shows this. It reminds us of our own baptism and of what we are committed to because of it. We need reminding from time to time that baptism, while it may have come easily, does not come cheaply. It does cost. Todayís Gospel reading (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22) makes that clear: He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (3:16)
So, as we begin this New Year let us not take our baptism for granted, or forget it. That can so easily happen. When the Spiritís fire truly burns within us, weíll know that itís not for recycling used goods but for renewing Godís gifts.