Today I would like to focus on the way of how do we perform baptism
And how the way it changed through centuries influenced our understanding or lack of understanding of this most important sacrament
In Jesus Time and before him, baptism was present in Jews culture in similar way to ours- it was part of initiation- but in to jews faith
The most important part of ritual is immersion in to the water.
So You had to go under water for few seconds
And it is meant to be unpleasant experience
You may got some water in to your nose, you may get scared, the water was cold,
Somebody may keep you 2 seconds there too long..
Now, I want you to think about your unpleasant experience with water
Maybe you were drowning for few seconds, taken by the current, maybe you lost control waking and flip over in the river or on the shore
We need to keep this unpleasant experience in mind
Because baptism in spiritual reality, is a ritual of passing from death to life
We are dying with Christ to sin, to our old ways of life, thinking, living
We are immersed into Christ death and resurrection.
We accept new life of Grace, we are born again, a new as a adopted sons and daughters of our God
And both dying and being born are not pleasant experiences at all
There is no fun there for anyone.
These 2 events drastically change reality of person who experience it. Whatever you die or you are born. Everything changes totally
Our catechumens are lucky because their baptism is very close to the one in Jesus Time.
They get completely wet. It is shocking experience to be washed 3 time with big bucket of water.
Now we can think about effects of baptism:
It Washes away our sins, cleanse us, we receive new life- similarly to new life of new born baby and Yes we receive many gifts too
We become adopted children of God
And by it also we become part of the family. Gods family.
It is rite of initiation.
And Initiation by itself is into something
You have rite of initiation for the Knighs of Columbus, rite of acceptance to different college organizations, rite of acceptance in to army, or even to the Mafia.
Which means there is no way back.
And we lost this concept too.
How much do we think about the church as our family. Church as a community. parish. People sitting in pew with you. Look around. We are your family. Do you like It or not
And Look around once more and think about people who are your catholic family but are not here.
Why they are not here? What happens to them? Why they want to come for family event only on Christmas or Easter. Or don’t come at all beside the times they have too. Like funeral.
If somebody doesn’t show up for family events because of stupid reason, don’t you try to talk, see what happens, maybe they need your help?
And these are unpleasant discussion mostly too, but show our care and love.
And what about our catholic/parish family. Your classmates, coworkers, neighbors.. we just don’t talk about it. It is not our business as somebody would say…
well, no. it is our business. Well being of family members is our business. Whatever they like it or not.
Some how we lost it…
So we have 2 things:
Baptism : rite of passage to new life
New life which we are challenge to assimilate every day
Rite of dying to sin. Where we are challenge to be dying to sin in our life
And 2nd rite of initiation. Introduction. Acceptance into new reality of being Gods sons and daughters.
Initiation into new family of the Church.
A lot of benefits but also there are requirements…
Enough for today.
Goal of my long homily was to help you to see what we forget so often,
To look deeper into reality into which we are immersed
To rediscover forgotten ideas that are meant to be crucial part of our daily journey.