From the Associate Pastor
A number of non-Catholic Christians call themselves “born again.” It usually designates someone who has experienced a particularly intense moment of conversion that leads them to want to dedicate their life to God. So, are we Catholics, also born again?
The Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist, are the foundations of the Christian life. The word “baptism” in its original Greek means “immersion” and “bath.” Immersion in water is a sign of death, and emersion out of the water means new life. To bathe in water is also to undergo cleansing. St. Paul sums this up when he says, “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12). The origin and foundation of Christian baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin and begin to live a new life with God.
These are the effects of our baptism:
- Our sins – original and actual – are forgiven. However, the effect of original sin called concupiscence (inclination to sin) remains. It is why we still need to seek strength to resist them through penance, Eucharist, prayer, and other ways to deepen our relationship with God.
- We become adopted children of God, sharers of divine life, and temples of the Holy Spirit.
- We become members of the Church, the Body of Christ, sharing in the priesthood of Christ as well as his prophetic and royal mission.
- We are bonded to other Christians, including those not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.
- We are sealed with the indelible spiritual mark of our belonging to Christ. No sin can ever erase this mark.
While we Catholics are born again as children of God in the sacrament of baptism, our rebirth happens in and through the grace of the sacrament. Our rebirth in baptism is not a one-time event but a lifelong process through which we continually strive to die to sin and rise to new life in Christ, to “profess before all the faith we have received from God through the Church and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1270), so that the whole world can be transformed with the light and power of the Gospel.
Peace and good, Fr. Sam
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