- Slides: 45
Baptism: The First Sacrament
Christ’s Baptism Jesus’ baptism shows us the value of “self-emptying” And prefigures his baptism in blood Jesus’ baptism is a revelation of his true character—the Messiah
Jesus’ Baptism at the Jordan River • Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. • This is one of very few stories in all 4 Gospels. • John resists doing it, saying he is unworthy. • Jesus insists. • Holy Spirit descends “like a dove”, Father speaks from Heaven, “This is My Son, with whom I am well pleased. ” (Entire Trinity present. )
Why did John Baptize in a River?
The Meaning of Baptism • John’s Baptism was a symbolic drowning (sinful self dying, new life) Repentance a key theme of baptism • Baptism signifies Church membership (see Pentecost) • Faith in Trinity (see Mt. 28: 16 -20) (major difference from Judaism)
Repentence and Humility • We often think of conversion as a onetime thing. • And, since we were baptized as infants/toddlers, we think of conversion as a one-time thing for someone else. • Pope John Paul II: “We ourselves are to be converted anew every day. ”
Think of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector • Because of his humility, there is no limit to how much the tax collector can improve • Because of his arrogance, the Pharisee will never be better than what he already is (an arrogant, judgmental…).
Understanding the Sacrament of Baptism Baptizein: “to plunge or immerse” Being buried with Christ and emerging as a “new creature” Washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit Enlightenment
Who should be baptized? One question raised by the Protestant Reformation (the Anabaptists) is who – or when – we should baptize? What do you think? Is baptism better as a sacrament exclusively for adults, or for infants?
What are the advantages of each? • Adult Baptism • Infant Baptism
What are the advantages of each? • Adult Baptism • Infant Baptism • Ownership of decision/freedom • Repentence • Membership from the beginning, welcomed in • Grow up as an active member of the Church
Although every specific incident of baptism in the NT is of an adult, it does state that families were baptized, which implies infant/child baptism goes back to the 1 st century.
R. C. I. A. Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (a program for those who are adults and have not yet been Baptized, Confirmed, and/or received the Eucharist – normally, received at the Easter Vigil)
Anabaptists: Some Protestant groups from the Reformation rejected infant baptism? What is the benefit of each? Infant Baptism • Membership from start • Growing up in the faith, faith community Adult Baptism • Freedom, ownership of decision, sense of repentence
Pompa Diaboli The anti-culture and its apparent promises of satisfaction and joy Baptism requires a “NO” to sin, evil, and Satan—“the father of lies”
Through Baptism we are (1)freed from sin and (2)reborn as children of God; (3)we become members of Christ, are (4)incorporated into the Church, and (5)made sharers in her mission.
Baptism Prefigured in the Old Testament WATER IS A SOURCE OF LIFE “At the very dawn of creation [God’s] spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness”
Baptism prefigured in the O. T. • Noah and the Flood – water brings death, but also a chance to start over • The Exodus – crossing the Red Sea: Hebrews are saved, Egyptians perish chasing them
Christian Initiation in the Church “Repent and be baptized” Catechumenate: study, instruction §Precatechumenate §Catechumenate §Purification, Enlightenment, or Illumination §Mystagogia
Celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism Every nonbaptized person—adult or infant—can be baptized Baptism takes away Original Sin—the fallen state into which people are born
The Necessity of Baptism is necessary for Salvation (John 3: 5) God has bound Salvation to the Sacrament of Baptism. . . He himself is not bound by his sacraments
Does everyone need to be baptized? • Can people go to heaven without being baptized? • Before you rush to say, “OF COURSE!”, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. ” • But what about people who never heard about God/Jesus? Or people who are atheists, but have lived very virtuous lives?
The Church struggled with this question, And came to recognize 3 types of Baptism…
• Baptism of water – the sacrament of Baptism received in the Church • (In an emergency, anyone can perform this – with water + “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. ”)
Then they wondered about people who accepted the faith and were martyred before their Baptism… • Baptism of blood/fire – unbaptized martyrs someone is in the process of learning about the faith, but not yet baptized, and is martyred.
Then some asked about people who had never accepted Christ, maybe because they lived in far away lands, or were raised in another faith tradition, and still lived good lives…
• Baptism of desire – those who SEEK GOODNESS and TRUTH are actually seeking God (God being goodness and truth) • Infants are entrusted to the mercy of God
Rite and Symbols of the Sacraments Baptism has a connection to the Easter Vigil, and to the Eucharist Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe.
Rite and Symbols of the Sacrament • Sign of the Cross • Word of God • Exorcisms and Profession of Faith • Blessing of the Water • Essential rite of Baptism • Anointing with Sacred Chrism • Receiving or clothing in a white garment • Receiving a lit candle
The Grace of Baptism The Forgiveness of Sins • Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives us. • Concupiscence—the inclination to sin • Baptism grants the life of Christ’s grace and turns us back to God • Protoevangelium—the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer
The Grace of Baptism Becoming a “New Creature” Incorporated into the Church • Our fundamental identity is changed • Baptized people receive sanctifying grace—the grace of justification • Enables us to believe in God • Gives us the power to live and act under the Holy Spirit • Allows us to grow in goodness • Baptism makes us members of the Church • Right to receive the other sacraments • Right to be nourished with the Word of God • Right to take part in and be sustained “by the other spiritual helps of the Church” • We share in the priesthood of Christ
The Grace of Baptism Unity with Other Christians • Baptism strengthens the opportunity for unity among all Christians • The Church recognizes most Christian baptism as valid • “We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” The Seal of Eternal Life • Baptism seals Christians with an indelible spiritual mark or character that cannot be erased (not repeated) • Readies Christians for worship • Requires us to participate in the liturgy and to live a holy life and love others
Loving God More Deeply “The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God. ” The moral virtues—prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance —have their roots in theological virtues, the foundation of the Christian moral life.
Faith Virtue by which we believe in God, all that he has said, and all that the Church teaches Only professing one’s faith is not enough “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. ”
Hope The virtue by which we desire happiness and the Kingdom of God and in which we place our trust in Christ and his promises “If I saw the gates of hell open and I stood on the brink of the abyss, I should not despair, I should not lose hope of mercy, but I should trust in Thee, my God. ”
Charity (aka love) Jesus called the New Commandment The Christian life, begun at Baptism, is rooted completely in our love for God and neighbor Love is the greatest of all virtues Baptism “clothes” us with Christ
More on Living the Sacrament of Baptism The graces of Baptism remain stagnant unless we put them to use, so the Church has many reminders: §Holy water fonts from which we make the Sign of the Cross §Reading the creation account at the Easter Vigil §Blessing the baptismal water at Baptism §Renewal of our baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil
We’ve only just begun The Baptism of infants and young children. . . Parents take on the responsibility of bringing up their children ‘in the practice of the faith. . . to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor’ (Rite of Baptism for Children). Godparents also accept the responsibility to play a pivotal role in the faith formation of their godchild. The Church requires that a godparent: • be at least sixteen years old; • be a Catholic who has received the Sacraments of Initiation; • practices the Catholic faith; • can be a role model in living as a disciple of Jesus.
Who do you claim to be? The Question of Identity The image we have of ourselves impacts • our actions, words, attitudes and vision of life; • how we treat ourselves and others. The fact that you have been baptized should shape your deepest sense of self-identity. Baptism seals, or marks, a person with the indelible identity of a Christian. How might you make your Christian identity more evident to others?
Who do you claim to be? Baptism unites us to Jesus Christ, who is Priest, Prophet and King. Jesus Christ is the great High Priest and Mediator between God and humankind. Jesus is the final and greatest Prophet whom God sent to reveal what is and what is not of God’s reign. Jesus is the promised King or ruler, who leads God’s people to do God’s will on earth now, as it is done in Heaven. Jesus’ life and teaching and his Death and Resurrection show us the way to live with justice, compassion and peace by living the Great Commandment as he lived it.
Rights and responsibilities of the baptized The baptized have the right and responsibility to. . . Holiness of Life: includes the responsibility to lead a holy life and to worship and share in the spiritual riches of the Church; includes the right to a Christian education. Build up the Church, the Body of Christ: includes the responsibility to care for and promote the growth of the Church; includes the right to speak up on matters concerning the integrity and vitality of the Church. Proclaim the Gospel: includes the responsibility to spread the divine message of Salvation, promote social justice and help the poor from their own resources.
Rights and responsibilities of the baptized Our greatest baptismal right and responsibility is ‘to love’ as Jesus did. Jesus said: ‘Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. ’(John 13: 34). Jesus taught us the Great Commandment: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. . . and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ (Matthew 22: 36, 39) All the laws of the Church are written to guide us in living ‘the way’ Jesus commanded us to live; in other words, living the Great Commandment.
Adopted children of God the Father! God calls families to be images of the Divine Family, the Holy Trinity. Created in God’s image, families are to share life and love, both within the family and outside the family, as God does. In Baptism God embraces us with his love. In 1 John 3: 1 we read: ‘See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. ’ In Baptism, God embraces us as his ‘beloved’ children.
Remembering our Baptism is vital to our growing as children of God and disciples of Jesus. There are several rituals during the Mass that help us remember and renew our Baptism: • The celebrant invites everyone to make the Sign of the Cross. • The lighted candles remind us that we have been ‘enlightened by Christ’. • Burning incense helps us lift up our mind and heart to God in prayer. • Sprinkling the assembly with baptismal water, or holy water, helps us recall our rebirth at Baptism.
Remembering our Baptism Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church that bear a resemblance to the Sacraments. Sacramentals ‘prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it’ (CCC, no. 1670). Sacramentals can be actions accompanied by prayer, such as blessing ourselves by making the Sign of the Cross and sprinkling with holy water. Sacramentals can also be objects that have been consecrated or blessed, for example, altars, chalices and sacred oils, the Lectionary and the Book of the Gospels, holy water, candles, crucifixes, statues, scapulars, medals, representations of the Stations of the Cross and rosary beads.