“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these because I am going to the Father.”
Thank you for joining today as we continue in our Easter joy. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Do you celebrate your baptism day? Do you even know when it was?
Because I do genealogy as a hobby I happen to know when mine was without digging through all the papers in that locked metal box in the closet (we all have those don’t we?). Mine was December 14th.
Sometime this week, open that box and look at the date. I know Carin (May 15th) and Vince (April 1st) had to do that to be godparents. Then put it on your calendar as an annual thing, and when it rolls around celebrate. Go out to dinner, have cake, take a trip, and share the time.
We celebrate lots of stuff: team wins, national whatever-it-is-day, a promotion or retirement. We celebrate love on Valentine’s Day. It is only right and fitting that we should celebrate that day when we met the greatest love of all time, the greatest love in all eternity – Jesus in our baptism.
You see, in baptism we are made one in Jesus. We enter the water dying with Him and are thus buried with Him to then rise-up out of the water to new life.
Our Holy Church does not look at this event, baptism, as some kind of ritual cleaning because babies are born all dirty and sinny. No! Indeed, we see baptism as that moment a person is regenerated, brought to new life in Christ Jesus. It is also why the Church must never be a place of criticism and condemnation, but rather a place of welcome, healing, and continual entry into God’s new life.
With this new life come the promises we hear in Scripture and in the Holy Mass today: You will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones. We have true power. You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own.” We are set apart by God, made different by our baptism. I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself. We have an eternal home that Jesus built for us. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. We have intimate knowledge of God the Father because we know Jesus.
Yes, friends, celebrate the day you received the greatest gift of all. We can buy stuff, acquire, earn, give our children clothes, schooling, hobbies and sports – all good things, but the best gift for Olivia happens today because it is a forever gift, and it is free.
It happened for you perhaps years or decades ago – don’t forget it, or just tuck it away in a little metal fireproof box. As you take out that paper and look at it recall that you were given the greatest gift ever. Pray in that intimate moment. Picture mom, dad, your godparents and their joy as they gave you this gift. And, thank God each day by living out the new life you entered with thanksgiving.
One thought on “Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter 2023”
Far too often in Baptism; we get fixated on the water itself. Is it enough; do we really need to go all the way to The River Jordan and make it “biblically accurate”? Do we as my former Pastor and Mentor for Deaconhood put it? Do we pour or do we spritz?
Potentially valid points, perhaps, but I think if we do the mine is more accurate than yours game, we horrendously miss the point. Although to their favor; immersion baptism does bring on a more profound feeling of closeness and intimacy.
It’s NOT the water; we used to get ours from the Kitchen tap. Shh! Or the amount.
It’s what the Water, means, it’s what it represents that is important.
Through Baptism, we are introduced or re-introduced; and made as a “new thing” in Christ.
Kenneth David Swenson
Former Congregational Deacon, UNY
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