Baptism of the Lord
January 12, 2020
Baptism carries with it a once-in-a-lifetime offer: it washes away all the sins that came before the Sacrament, provided we are truly sorry. After baptism, the Lord gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a kind of “second baptism” that also washes away our sins, and is also a great gift from God. For an adult, baptism gives a truly new beginning. But most of us were baptized as children (where only original sin was washed away). Whether baptized as an adult or a child, we all need reminders of the greatness of our baptism!
The holy water font at the entrance of the Church is intended to be one of those reminders. We should always recall why we dip our hands into the bowl and sign ourselves with the cross: we are re-committing ourselves to our baptismal promises, and also reminding ourselves that we are sealed with God’s name on our foreheads. We literally belong to Christ who has saved us! What a great gift!
A baby, of course, has no faith. The church accepts the faith of the parents and godparents on behalf of the child, who are then committing themselves to pass this faith on to their child by words and deeds. The minister performing the baptism always asks them, “Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?’’ Of course, they say yes right away! But do any of us really comprehend this responsibility? It’s a tough job that does not always result in a faith filled adult child. Eventually the child will, of course, grow up and make their own decisions, but how important our words and examples are! All of us need to be reminded of our baptismal promises, as well as the gift of eternal life Baptism promises us? How good of a Christian example am I at work or home or school?
Why was Christ baptized? After all, he didn’t have any sins to wash away, nor did he need faith. By being baptized, Christ, the Son of God signaled that he is one of us. Though sinless, he was prepared to take on all of our sins and failings so that we might be forgiven – both in our own baptisms and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.