FATHER FRANK’S FIRE
The first and most important Sacrament of the Church is Baptism. Most of us were baptized as infants and have no memory of this wonderful day except for a certificate, pictures or a video. I was the third of three children and there is not even a picture of my baptism.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord and this day marks the end of the Christmas season. My family thinks I am a little crazy, but I do not open my Christmas cards until the Epiphany to extend this wonderful season. I also place all the cards I receive in a basket and each day I take a card and pray for that person or persons. This way I can keep the season of Christmas around all year.
Jesus, who was sinless, had no need to be baptized and yet he chose to identify himself with us. By walking into the River Jordan, he showed us that he was one with us. This is a powerful statement for the One being baptized was the One that makes all things holy. Jesus is baptized by John, assured by the voice of the Father and then Jesus begins his earthly ministry.
It is good for us to remember our own baptismal promises this day – the promise to reject Satan and sin and to believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism allows us to receive the other Sacraments of the Church. The symbols used at baptism – water, white garment, and candle – are the same symbols that we use at a funeral liturgy. This reminds us that from the beginning of our lives of faith until the end – we are surrounded by Christ – the One who loves us.
Many of us celebrate our birthdays with great joy. Pope Francis urges us to celebrate our baptismal day as that is the day our names were written in the Book of Life. Do you even know what day you were baptized? I was baptized on April 7th and yes, I did have to look it up. Perhaps now is a good idea to search for that baptismal certificate to find out yours.
The gospel tells us that as Jesus emerged from the Jordan River a voice was heard saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” May we trust and know that God says the same to each and everyone of us. Today let us renew our baptismal promises and believe that we are God’s beloved children.
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Frank A. Kurucz – Pastor