Christ’s Baptism Sets a Three-Beat Rhythm

The vagaries of the calendar will deprive us this year of a Baptism of the Lord Sunday.

From the archive…

Click HERE for a Baptism of the Lord homily about the sacraments.

Click HERE for a Baptism of the Lord homily about joining God’s club.

Click HERE for a Baptism of the Lord homily about Tiger Woods.

[If you click the links, scroll down past the sports page to get to the homilies.]

…Here we present another little Roman Missal reflection:

The Lord Jesus came up from the water, and the Holy Trinity revealed Himself in full. The Father spoke, the Son stood before our eyes, the Holy Spirit descended as a dove.

One God, three Persons.

When St. Peter denied Christ on Holy Thursday night, he denied Him three times. When Christ forgave Peter on Easter, He asked the repentant sinner three times, “Do you love me.”

We join in the same three-beat rhythm now when we begin Mass.

Our new translation of the Confiteor expresses the three-fold acknowledgement of sin that the ancient Latin prayer has always included: “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”

We continue, as we always have, to implore the mercy of the Trinity in a three-fold manner. “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”

And, now, when we sing the Gloria, we express the threefold adoration of the Lamb that the ancient Latin prayer always has expressed:

you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

Since we believe in one God in three Persons, it makes sense that our prayers to begin Mass would have a special three-beat rhythm in them.

We thank God that our new Missal restores some of the beats that were missing from the previous translation.

One thought on “Christ’s Baptism Sets a Three-Beat Rhythm

  1. Father Mark,

    Leave it to a Hoyas fan to go for a three-fer. How about music: the triple used for waltzes, minuets, scherzi, country & western ballads, R&B, sometimes used in pop [per Wikipedia And, the fact that they lend themselves to simple dances most admirably.

    How about the fact that three sides describe the simplest of planar shapes, or the tetrahedron (admittedly, four) triangular sides, the simplest of solid angular shapes, and one of the most stable [although the circle and the sphere are arguably the most simple and stable].

    Three’s a crowd? Three blind mice? Three to get ready? American Pie? It’s interesting how many Beatles’ songs were three-beat.

    It don’t make no never mind, the threes at Mass will be a pleasant revisit to the Church of my youth, comfortable, reassuring, readily identifiable without a full knowledge of Latin.



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