The Baptism of the Lord inspires us to claim the gift of our own baptism as we follow Christ and live the gift of life infused with faith.
Tag Archives: Baptism
Study: Find out about your baptism. When was it? Who performed it? Who are your Godparents? Who else was present?
Pray: Thank the Lord for the gift of faith to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ.
Serve: How can you live your baptismal call today? How can your faith inspire or assist another?
A few years ago I was having lunch when I ran into Fr. Bob Koszarek, a retired priest from our diocese. When I asked him what brought him out for lunch he said, “I am celebrating the anniversary of my baptism.” The comment struck me, especially when he followed it up with, “Do you know the day of your baptism?”
The answer is no. Yet as I prepare for Mass this week I have made a commitment to find out. We claim (rightly so) that baptism is a crucial sacrament in the Church – the gateway to all other sacraments whereby we are configured to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most people know if they have been baptized; my sense is that very few know the actual date.
Our faith is a precious gift – worth fighting for, worth dying for. Perhaps today we pause to recall just how precious it truly is…Jesus Christ poured out his blood on the Cross for us that we might have eternal life. His baptism was the revelation of the Trinity, where we hear the Father’s voice from heaven as the Spirit descends upon the Son in the form of a dove. Our baptism allows us to participate fully in God’s presence for the grace and guidance we need.
I invite us today to claim our baptism. Some simple steps:
- Thank the Lord for the gift of faith to know Jesus and live as a Christian disciple
- Embrace your faith through study and prayer
- Serve others in the name of Jesus Christ (and with his help and strength)
- Allow your life to bring Good News to the World
Our baptism is not a one time event. Rather, it is an ongoing expression of Christ working through us. May the Baptism of the Lord inspire us to live our faith with joy as we engage our lives with his power.
Note: This post was first published on January 4, 2016.
St. Peter exhorts the crowd to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. We hear these words in this Easter season because repentance is an ongoing part of our life in the Lord.
The baptism of Jesus recalls the gift of our own baptism and how our lives are now configured to Christ. May we live this great gift as we put our faith into practice.
Jesus speaks with Nicodemus about the Holy Spirit. We have received this Spirit in our hearts at Baptism, and the Lord gives us the strength and wisdom to make our way through this life to Heaven. Our task: to let the Spirit work in our lives!
Philip took time to instruct the Ethiopian eunuch about the book of the prophet Isaiah, which led to his conversion and baptism. Every day we have opportunities to share our faith and help guide others so that they can grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Study: Consider a time when your drifted in your convictions and faith. What helped you get back on track?
Pray: Is there something keeping you from the Lord or another person? Pray for the grace to reconcile.
Serve: Do you know others who are struggling with their faith? How can you support their journey back to God?
Themes of repentance, baptism, and sheep surface this week. Take a look:
- 1st Reading – Peter exhorts the crowd to repent and be baptized
- Psalm – “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.”
- 2nd Reading – Christ bore our sins on the Cross, for we were like straying sheep
- Gospel – The Lord is the gate for the sheep; we must pass through Him
The Scriptures speak of Jesus as both Shepherd and Gate. Why? Because like sheep sometimes we find ourselves in trouble, unprotected, abandoned, and in need of serious help. The shepherd guards and guides the sheep; entry through the gate allows the sheep to pass into a place of safety.
Our human need for help arises from our sins. While the joy of this Easter season is ringing in our hearts, we still take the time to call to mind our need for the Savior – the Good Shepherd – who offers his life for us. Indeed, it is the saving death and resurrection of Jesus that we proclaim in every Baptism, Confession, and Eucharist…sacraments that many receive in this holy season.
Knowing that the Lord has freed us from sin and death, we can honestly acknowledge our sins and joyfully offer our gratitude – running to the Lord for the grace and strength we need.
Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts
Study: How did you learn your Christian faith? When did it become something you claimed for your own?
Pray: This is a good time to count our blessings and draw near to the Lord in gratitude for the gift of life.
Serve: Perhaps there is someone to whom you might want to say, “I love you.” Perhaps this is a good time right now…
Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast (7 minutes, given at Cathedral on April 4, 2015)
This holy night finds the Church celebrating the profound mystery of Christ’s saving work. The Easter Vigil recalls the great moments of salvation history, rejoices with those who enter into full communion with the sacramental life of the Church, and is nourished by Eucharist. Here are the four key components:
- The Liturgy of Light
- The Liturgy of the Word
- The Liturgy of Initiation
- The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Liturgy of Light (or Lucernarium) begins the Easter Vigil. In the darkness the image of light is used to proclaim our hope in Christ. Several things happen:
- A new fire is blessed and from its flames the light of the paschal (Easter) candle is lit
- This candle is processed into church where the faithful light their own candles from it.
- By this sea of candlelight the great Easter proclamation of Christ our Light – the Exsultet – is offered.
The Liturgy of the Word recounts the epic story of salvation history through several Old Testament Scriptures:
- Creation – Genesis 1:1-2.2 and Psalm 104 or 33
- Abraham’s Sacrifice – Genesis 22:1-18 and Psalm 16
- Passage through the Red Sea – Exodus 14: 15-15:1 and its Canticle (Exodus 15)
- The New Jerusalem – Isaiah 54:5-14 and Psalm 30
- Salvation Offered Freely to All – Isaiah 55:1-11 its Canticle (Isaiah 12)
- The Fountain of Wisdom – Baruch 3:9-15 and Psalm 19
- A New Heart and a New Spirit – Ezechiel 36:16-28 and Psalm 42-43
We then move from the Old t0 the New Testament:
- The Gloria is sung
- A reading from Romans 6:3-11 – Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more!
- The Alleluia is sung
- The Gospel is read – Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-7, Lk 24:1-12 (depending on the year)
The Liturgy of Initiation then follows where those who have been preparing to enter the Church now receive their sacraments.
- The Litany of the Saints is sung
- The Baptismal Font is blessed
- The Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated
- The Assembly renews their Baptismal Promises
- The Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated
Finally, the Liturgy of the Eucharist allows the entire community to draw near to the altar to receive Jesus Christ in the sacrament of his Body and Blood. The newly baptized receive Holy Communion for the first time in the company of their fellow Catholics. Like every Mass:
- Bread and Wine are brought to the altar
- The Priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer
- The Lord’s Prayer is said, followed by the Sign of Peace
- We receive the Lord Jesus in Holy Communion
The great promise of faith, founded upon God’s saving work through time in the history of salvation, is proclaimed on this holy night. May Christians around the world renew their faith in Jesus Christ – sharing his love and light with one another.
Christ our Light!
Repentance provides us with the opportunity to remove what is not worthy of heaven and replace it with graces that are fruitful and life-giving. May this Advent empower us to turn away from sin and embrace a life in Christ.
In both the 1st Reading and the Gospel we have references to teaching: Philip teaches the Ethiopian eunuch and Jesus instructs the people in the “Bread of Life” discourse. Note how the teaching leads to the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist! May our faith help us to enter ever deeper into our life in Jesus Christ.