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The Baptism of Our Lord 2019

Weekend Reflection - by Aidan Troy, C.P.


Baptism is one of the seven Sacraments given to us by Christ, the Sacrament. Seven channels of grace flow from the Paschal Mystery of the Crucified and Risen One. Baptism is one of the simplest of the sacraments. Its core is the pouring of the water in the name of the Blessed Trinity. There are two anointings with blessed oil, the wrapping in a robe of baptism and the giving of a candle lit from the Paschal Candle. To baptise babies at a weekend and adults at the Easter Vigil gives me a real sense of joy.

At baptisms I can almost hear the sound of the Jordan River. In my mind’s eye, I glimpse John the Baptist pour the water over the head of his cousin, Jesus. The discussion of who baptises whom is settled for the time being.

God gives the child or adult at baptism the key to the treasury of all His graces. On the day of baptism, God opens His arms to adopt us. This is Gospel truth. The process of adoption is Divine.

I ask myself from time to time, ‘who am I?’ that I am welcomed into the family of God? My profile may be on Facebook, Twitter or my name can be ‘googled’. Missing is – he is an adopted child of God. God looks on me as a child of His for no merit of mine. You are also an adopted child of God. By this we belong to God and to each other – forever. Being a child of God is a relationship based on Divine love. We are family together.

As a child of God, a consequence is that He invites us to love each other. This is a tough call. It is possible to say that you love People in general, but you find me as a person difficult to love. Baptism gives us the call and the grace not to give up trying to love.

Surrender to indifference towards you, never mind hatred, banishes the Holy Spirit from my heart. Then, Jesus can simply stand and knock at the door of my heart. The door can only be opened from the inside – by me. I pray that I do not leave it too late to open my heart to Him. My dread is to let the light of baptism go out. Then, when I knock on His door to enter the wedding feast, that I would hear the reply, ‘I know you not’. Pray for me and I will pray that neither will you leave it too late.

Confirmation is the sibling of baptism. Then the candidate stands ready for the Holy Spirit to come down as at the first Pentecost. Above the Baptismal Font in St Joseph’s Church, there is a beautiful mould in stone of the of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. This recalls the descent of the Holy Spirt for the rest of our lives.

Listening to the Scripture Readings at Mass, I offer a silent prayer to the Holy Spirit for greater Understanding, Wisdom and Knowledge before I proclaim the Gospel and dare preach to you. This is an awesome responsibility knowing that I am not worthy or loving enough. The Holy Spirit reminds me that it is His task to touch your heart.

He will give me the Word that will reach your heart and melt it. Any effective preaching that I have ever done is 100% the work of the Spirit. That keeps me humble. Of course, prayer, study and preparation must be done by me. But only the Spirit can give the increase.

Besides renewing the vows of your own baptism today, in the family please talk to your children about what happened on the day that they were baptised. Look at the photos of that great day. Light a candle in the home to remind the family of how blessed you are to be part of God’s family.

Parents could pray the beautiful prayer offered for them as a child is baptised:

“Father and Mother will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. May they also be the best of teachers, bearing witness to their faith by what they say and do, in Christ Jesus Our Lord. Amen”

StJoeParis

Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56
stjosephparis@wanadoo.fr

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