Summary: Living our Baptismal Call
The total water supply of the world is 326 million cubic miles. Each cubic mile is equal to one trillion gallons. The adult human body is composed of approximately 55 to 60 percent water. There is not a plant or animal which can survive without water.
In addition to being so important to sustain life water can cause great destruction and death. It can turn people’s lives upside down in the form of floods, hurricanes, and tidal waves.
However, here, today water is going to have the most profound effect. Those of you who are the parents have received instruction about the Sacrament of Baptism. You have been preparing for this day–Preparing to have your children baptized into the Church of Christ. Preparing to help your children, as they grow, to live lives faithful to the Gospel of Jesus.
The rite which your children and you will go through in several minutes will not only wash your children of all original Sin, but it will place an indelible mark on their souls signifying that they are one of God’s chosen children and they will be received into the Catholic community.
Yes the water used in baptism has a most profound effect on the individual, it provides the means through which the grace needed to carry out the mission of Christ flows. In addition to the water we must have the words instituted by Christ in order to confer the Sacrament. "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." In the same way we must have the living word of God in our hearts in order to live according to God’s laws.
Each of us as baptized Christians can use occasions like this to reflect on how well we are living out our baptismal call. Many of us were probably infants when we were baptized and had our parents and godparents made the profession of faith on our behalf, promising to raise us in the Faith. I ask each of you present as we go through the Baptism Rite this afternoon to pay careful attention and reflect upon what is said.
I would like to take just a minute or so to explain some of the other parts of the Baptism Rite you will go through this afternoon.
After the Child has been baptized, he or she will be anointed with Sacred Chrism, this is made of Olive Oil and Balsam which gives it the aromatic aroma.
The word Christ originally meant the “Anointed One”. The tradition of anointing goes back to the Old Testament when those who were to serve as priest, prophet, or king were anointed with a similar oil.
We to by our anointing are united with Christ and share in His roles of priest, prophet and king. Your child will again be anointed with the Sacred Chrism again at confirmation.
The White Garment symbolizes that your child will become washed clean and as become a child of God and member of this community.
Finally, the Candle is a symbol of the light of faith which has begun in your child’s heart today. It will be your role as parents, relatives, and friends to nurture and keep this faith alive.
Now understanding some of the symbols, the question arises how do we as Christians continue to keep the enthusiasm and the excitement of occasions like this alive in our daily lives?
There are no simple solutions or easy answers. As the parents and godparents of these children it is important to remember that Jesus never said following him would be easy. In the Gospel of Mathew Jesus said: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
Each of us as adults is conscious of this commitment. It is a great gift and responsibility to be able to raise our children in the faith of the church. So again, I ask: How do we as Christians continue to keep the enthusiasm and the excitement of occasions like this alive in our daily lives?
Christ has provided us with the answer by the example of His own life and the Sacraments. At all times and especially in those times when things were really tough, the temptations, the agony in the garden, dieing on the Cross -- what did Jesus do? He prayed.
Prayer is great gift from God. Something we can do anytime at any place. We can pray when we are faced with temptations. We can pray that God will open our hearts to the grace he is giving us to do the right thing. Our prayer can be a prayer of thanksgiving for gifts received.
In addition we have the Sacraments to which we access because of our Baptism.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion should be one which we look forward to, not as an obligation, but as source of grace in our lives to live more fully as Christians. The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our Christian lives.