Baptism is a gift Jesus received and shares.
Today we celebrate The Baptism of Our Lord, one of those events known in theological circles as, “a very big deal.”
It’s a big deal on a number of levels, but one of the most important things it does for those of us out there in the pews on Sunday is remind us why we baptize. To paraphrase an old song, we do it because the Bible tells us so.
That’s right. The fact that we baptize is proof positive that Catholics are Bible Christians…the original Bible Christians.
The Bible tells us so?
Yep. According to Matthew, Mark and Luke (3:13-17, 1:9-11, and 3:21-22 respectively), Jesus had Himself baptized, which seems like a pretty clear indicator that it’s an important thing to do.
Oh, and remember what He told the Apostles to do? That’s right…
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….” (MT 28:19)
And so, we baptize…babies, toddlers, tweens, teens and every age of adult.
Share your photos! If someone in your life is being baptized this year—whether it’s a newborn baby or a newly minted adult Catholic—please post a Baptism Day photo. At Christmas we’ll celebrate the gift of new brothers and sisters in Christ by posting them all on our blog. Share your photos with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with #baptismday.
And if you need some help with Baptism gifts, we can offer you a great selection of Baptism gifts for brand-new Catholics of all ages.
Care and feeding of the soon-to-be baptized.
If you’re a cradle Catholic, most of the baptisms you’ve participated in have probably been the infant variety, but every year there are people of all ages baptized into the Church.
Adult baptism is quite an extraordinary thing. For those of us who can’t even remember the moment of baptism, it can be difficult to understand the idea of being baptized as an adult, to hear and comprehend the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” and to experience that unique moment of spiritual purity.
It’s a moment worth celebrating. And you’re the person to celebrate it
We suggest asking your RCIA director who in your parish’s current RCIA class is a “catechumen” (a cool and fancy-sounding word for people who are preparing to be baptized). After showing off your vocabulary, ask if your RCIA director would please pass along some notes of encouragement, support and congratulations for you.
But what do I say to total strangers?
Great question. And there’s good news. There are no strangers in Christianity, only brothers and sisters you haven’t met.
Don’t you just hate it when people talk to you in bumper stickers? In this case, however, the bumper sticker is spot-on. The fact that you reach out to these people at all will be an incredible addition to their overall experience of entering the Church.
You don’t have to say anything profound. Just let the person you’re writing to know that you understand the incredible significance of what they’re doing, how glad you are that he or she will soon be a fellow Catholic, and that you’ll be praying for them.
And don’t forget to follow up on those prayers. They’re important.
I’m not good at writing notes!
No problem. There’s an easy way to do the same thing in-person. Find out which Mass your parish designates as its RCIA Mass and ask the RCIA director to point out the people who are preparing for baptism.
Now that you know who the catechumens are, you can catch up with them before Mass begins, giving them an extra measure of welcome, and giving yourself a very brief amount of time to fill with conversation.
It’s a simple thing to do, but it makes a big difference. Just like pouring water on somebody’s head is a simple thing to do (and look at what a difference THAT makes).