There are so many spiritual things to write about. One could write a book (hint). Since I can’t write a book in the bulletin we’ll have to settle for a series. This one will be on the Sacraments…Deacon Phil style. Ready? Here we go! I love baptizing children, the smiles, the cooing, sigh…and the crying. The joy of the parents and God parents, it’s just wonderful. It’s also one of the most misunderstood, least respected and easily forgotten of the Sacraments. Yet, all the other sacraments begin with it. I’d like to take my time with this one and share some insight.
Misunderstood …Why do we ask for baptism? Um yes you heard right… ask. Most people do not realize that although baptism is a Rite, it is not a Right. Even as I speak (or write), hundreds of thousands of Catholics all over the world are demanding, not asking, demanding, that their children be baptized into a faith that they don’t even participate in. Wow, now why would we want someone baptized into a faith we don’t even believe in, or participate in? In the Rite of Baptism for Children (here after abbreviated as ROBFC), the second question asked by the Priest or Deacon is, “What do you ask of God’s Church for…?” C’mon folks any light bulbs clicking on? This is a challenge question! Did Jesus “demand” baptism from John the Baptist or did he ask? Baptism at that time was a public denouncement of sin and a turn to repentance. From the Apostles time to today amongst most Christian faiths it includes accepting Jesus as the risen Lord and Savior and publicly denouncing sin. In the case of a baby, Mom, Dad, the God Parents and the Church community are proxy for the child since the baby can’t speak for itself. The idea is that the parents, God Parents and Church community are going to help raise this child in faith. Um, by the way, those present at a private Baptism are the Church community. (Shucks, and here we thought we were just guests with no responsibility). Actually that baby becomes all our responsibility in helping raise him or her in the faith. It’s a Club and not everyone’s invited. (Remember the Pharisees?) Don’t forget, to become a Christian one had to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and be baptized. For those who were martyred it was a steep price to pay and wasn’t taken lightly. It wasn’t by them and shouldn’t be by us.
Until next time…may Jesus keep you smiling, may God’s grace shine on you and always pray for our Pastor …he loves us and so do I!