REFLECTION BY FR FRANCIS (for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord)
9/10th January 2021
This Sunday – the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ concludes the Christmas season.
Tomorrow (on Monday) we coming back again to “Ordinary Time” in the Liturgy!
It is a good time to reflect on our own Sacrament of Baptism.
Once Pope Paul VI was asked what was the greatest day in his life.
He without any hesitation replied – “ It was the day I was baptised “.
We may say that Baptism is the greatest thing that can happen to us !!! Why ?
Because, according to the Catechism through Baptism we are:
* Freed from sins
* Reborn as children of God
* Become members of Christ and His Church
The Sacrament of Baptism is the door to the other Sacraments.
So, without Baptism we can not receive, for example, the Holy Communion.
Through Baptism we are really born again to become partakers of the Divine nature and the Temples of the Holy Spirit receiving the Sanctifying grace and the power of the Holy Spirit -
to believe, to hope in God and to love Him.
The ceremony of Baptism is beautiful and rich in symbols.
Water - symbol of cleansing and new Life in God
Oil - symbol of belonging to Christ: the King, the Prophet and the High Priest
White garment - sign of our dignity and sanctifying grace
Candle - sign of the Light of Christ and our faith
What happened to Jesus in the river Jordan, happened to us at our Baptism.
God said to us – “ you are my beloved child..”
After Baptism we have to live like Christ, to be His faithful disciple.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Sacrament of Baptism:
Since there is a life above the human, man cannot share in it unless he dies to himself. Christ will not take us up to Himself unless we freely give ourselves to Him. This death to the life of sin, this sharing of the divine life, is BAPTISM.
Water is the material sign of Baptism.
Water is used for cleansing, therefore may be the symbol of a spiritual washing from original sin. Can also symbolize both death and life.
Submersion into the water - a symbol of death.
Rising from the water – a symbol of life (resurrection).
The water may be a symbol of separation of the Christian from the world.
When water is united to the power of God, it can take a creature and convert him into a child of God
The Baptism is related to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
There are four effects of Baptism:
1/ Restoration to friendship with God lost by the original sin in the paradise
By this the baptized person is made a partaker of the Divine nature and a sharer in Divine life and can be called an adopted child of God.
On the last day Christ will look into the soul to see His Divine resemblance, to those who have not this likeness He will say – “I do not know you”
2/ Incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church)
3/ Infusion of virtues (7)
Baptism infuses (through the working of the Holy Spirit) three virtues which relate to God Himself - faith, hope and charity
And four virtues (moral) related to the means of attaining God – prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance
4/ Triple relationship with the Most Holy Trinity
To be a child of The Father, the member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit.
To be baptized is to be christened, that is, to be made like Christ
But this doesn`t happen automatically
We have to grow into it
Towards the end of his life a saint was asked if he was Christian
And he replied – “not yet”
Baptism is like the planting of a seed
It will take a lifetime for this seed to grow and ripen
May you go on growing in the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ
May the Lord confirm your hearts in holiness so that you may be blameless in His sight
May you remain firm in the hope we profess because the One who made the promise is faithful