Living the Gospel – January 10, 2021

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Thoughts on Baptism

I walk into the church for weekend Mass. There they are in the front pews. Two smiling young couples, some older faces and the baby, dressed in the long , white gown. A Baptism! Mass will be long—probably 15 minutes longer, I think. Ugh!

I like to think that I’ve grown in wisdom and grace as well as age since having those thoughts. I’m not sure just what did cause the 180 degree turn around—maybe it WAS wisdom and grace but now I have an entirely different perspective on the Sacrament of Baptism.

I look at that child now and pray for him/her. “Oh, Little One, you have no idea how important this day is or what it truly means. Original Sin has been washed away and you are now a Child of Grace! The Spirit of God has come to you to direct and guide you in the steps of Christ all of your life. It unites you with Jesus in the most intimate way, bringing you into the Family of God with the right to call God ‘Abba, Father.’ You are receiving a commission to bring light to the world, to serve God by serving His people. This is your first step —a constant sharing in the Divine Life of Christ!”

I pray for the family, especially the parents that they will truly know and appreciate the significance of this day, that they as the ceremony confirms, will be the first teachers of the Faith for this new little Child of God. May they have the wisdom and knowledge to carry out the challenge and the privilege!

Thoughts of Baptism also make me wonder what goes through the mind of an adult who, by his/her own choice, seeks Baptism. While the child cannot understand the significance, the adult surely can. What is in their thoughts as the water washes away their Original Sin AND all the sins of their past life? He/She starts anew on this journey with Christ. How will it change his/her life? WILL it change his/her life?

I will never forget one Easter Vigil. The priest baptized 3-4 people of various ages. One was a woman, whom I’d guess to be in her late 30s. She never stopped smiling! She was dressed nicely, although not in white. She wore the Baptismal garment given her by the parish at the ceremony. I did not know her, but the only word I could think of was “radiant.” The perfect word for someone who has just outwardly become a Child of God!

Jesus accepted Baptism from John. He did not need it! He was sinless. By immersing Himself in the waters of Baptism, He put Himself on the side of sinners and assumed the burden of our sins. It was one more way of sharing in our humanity and its timing launched His ministry of service to His Father and to all humankind. And the Father sent the Spirit as an outward sign that He was appointed Savior of the world.

Linda Caminiti