Does your baptism make a difference in your life? Do you live differently and make different choices than you would if you were not baptized? Our baptism connects us to Jesus and to the Church. As such, these relationships should transform every aspect of our lives. Our thoughts, words and actions should be those who have committed their lives to following Jesus wherever that may lead.
I played a dangerous game in high school. I compared my individual talents to others, and I found myself lacking. That is because for each individual talent I had, there was always another person who was better. Rather than being able to see the many blessings God gave me, I focused on what I did not have. In today’s first reading, the apostle Paul shows how being baptized helps each of us to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In Baptism we are not only cleansed from our sins but we become adopted by the Holy Spirit in a special and intimate manner. Fr. Mark Wedig, O.P., takes us back in time to the early Church’s understanding of Baptism and then asks us to consider what it really means for our lives that we are adopted by the Spirit.
In the sacrament we pray for those things we wish to protect the child from. Just as parents prepare a safe area for their newly arrived baby. So too in Baptism we do the same thing. We ask God to protect the child in the exorcism. We say the devil has no entrance here, because of the saving power of Jesus.
“I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east.” Water and the Temple. This line from the prophet Ezekiel is an interesting one. When have we seen, in the gospels, water flowing out of the Temple? It is when Jesus has died, and a lance is thrust through Jesus. Blood and Water flows from his side.
As of yesterday, there were 153,517 cases of the COVID-10 virus, or the new Coronavirus. Of those cases, 5,735 have died. That is a rate of death of 3.7%. For comparison, the Seasonal Flu death rate is under 0.1%. That means, that the COVID-19 virus is much deadlier, and at present we have limited treatment options.
In the early Church, there was some confusion about why Jesus was baptized by John. We see even John the Baptist has a question about the appropriateness of his baptizing Jesus. The gospel of John mentions a few times that John the Baptist was not the light, not the one coming into the world. So why, then? As we have seen all throughout the Christmas season, the Baptism of Jesus is one more way we see the divinity of Jesus manifest.
The most important day of my life was when I was baptized, because on that day my relationship with God and the Church was solidified. How happy a day, because in a world full of brokenness, violence, sadness, war, death, we always have the chance to be grateful that we have been given this eternal relationship with God. And whether it is Naaman or the leper who came back to Jesus, both teach us about the importance of thanking God, especially for what we might too easily take for granted. What are you grateful for today? Take a moment and tell God about it.