Our Theme for this Week: The Baptism of the Lord.
As we honor the baptism of our Lord, may we recall our own baptism and look to celebrate the anniversary of our own special day.
Celebrating baptisms with families is a wonderful joy. Even crying babies have little damper on my enjoyment. I love interacting with the siblings and cousins, the larger the family the merrier. At the baptism of my niece Lily, I remember my other nephews and nieces gathered around the baptismal font. The youngest, my nephew Sean (now a high school student), imitated my hands as I blessed the water. This photo is one of my favorites in my ministry and a great lesson. As we are baptized, we are called to imitate Christ, to bear the name of Christian by living holiness.
In seminary, I remember the formation sessions that spoke about baptism, and the simple question: when were you baptized? Most of us did not know the answer, which I suspect would be true if I asked our parishioners during the homily. Yet the emphasis stuck with me, if our baptisms are the beginnings of our life in Christ, should not we remember that day (the same as we would our priesthood anniversaries or for many couples their marriage anniversary). At our funerals, the rite begins noting the importance of that day, when for most of us our parents brought us to church as infants, and the water was poured over our heads with the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I would look up my baptismal information, and to this day, I remember with a little prayer my baptismal anniversary on February 22. I also reminded Fr. Michael Carrion shortly thereafter that he had baptized me (apparently, there was not a voice heard from the heavens that day as there was for Christ) – I think the impact made him feel old.
As the prophet Isaiah was named, “my servant” by the Lord, each of us has been formed by the Lord and given by God the name of Christ, to bear light to the nations. Christian is a far greater title than servant – remember Jesus calls his disciples friends, rather than servants. From our life in Christ, we are called to help others encounter Jesus by our presence, our prayers, and our ministry of service. Let us marvel with one another at the good that God accomplishes through us, his daughters and sons.