Lights, Oil, Action!

Yes, water, white garments, and lots of prayers too.

Do you remember your Baptism?

I don’t mean the actual ceremony – one filled with meaningful and life-transforming rites and rituals  – though it is not a bad idea at all to go over what took place the day of your Baptism ( 

I mean, do you remember your Baptism, meaning, do you remember who you have become at Baptism – a chosen one, holy and beloved, clothed with Christ (Colossians 3:12), set apart, separated, and sanctified? Do you remember who you are when being in the world, but not being of it(John 15:18-19; John 17:14-19; 1 John 4:4-6) you are called to give witness to the deliverance, forgiveness, new life, bath of regeneration, white garments, bright light, anointing as priest, prophet and king, and Faith you have received at Baptism? Do you call to mind the fact that, in the words of the Servant of God Madeleine Delbrél?

“Through his baptism, the Christian exchanged his freedom for the freedom of Christ. He is free because Christ is supremely free, but he no longer has the right to choose a state of life other than that of Christ, an action other than that of Christ, or a thinking other than that of Christ. This is the state of living faith… This state of life means being a child of God in Christ along with all his brothers and sisters who are with him in Christ.”

Today we celebrate the great Feast of the Baptism of the Lord which closes the Christmas Season and gives way to Ordinary Time. Through His baptism, the Lord sanctified the waters that give us new life. In the words of St. Venantius used in a hymn for today:

“When Jesus comes to be baptized
He leaves the hidden years behind,
The years of safety and of peace,
To bear the sins of all mankind.

The Spirit of the Lord comes down,
Anoints the Christ to suffering,
To preach the word, to free the bound,
And to the mourner, comfort bring.”

That’s our call and mission too. To leave behind now the festivities and celebrations of a special season of joy and enter into Ordinary Time to carry out in an extraordinary way our mission as baptized disciples, in holiness and even amidst suffering. In the words of St. Gregory of Nazianzus:

“Today let us do honor to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist.

He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven.

You are to enjoy more and more the dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.”

I pray that the 21 infants baptized by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI today, along with many more in parishes around the world, be strengthened in the Faith they have received – the Faith professed by their parents and Godparents, and by the Christian community which these little born-again Christians have now entered.

May we all be willing and ready to remember our Baptism on a day to day basis, so that in all we say and do we may give to children, youth, and adults around us a clear and convincing witness to the Lord and the Faith we profess to believe in and follow.

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