Meditation of the Week – January 9

Today we are presented with the mystery of Christ’s baptism and our own. Jesus is baptized in order to reveal himself as God’s only Son, and to reveal his mission of sharing that sonship with us sinners. The reality of his mission, and our status as baptized Christians, help us understand our commitment to a culture of Life. To be a Christian is much more than to be a good person. It’s about becoming a new person, sharing a new kind of life – the life of God himself. Christmas, the celebration of which we conclude with today’s Feast, is not just about the birth of a child; it’s about the birth of a whole new humanity. In Adam, all die; in Christ, all come to life again. We are made sharers, by faith and baptism, in the Divine Nature. At every Mass, as he pours a few drops of water into the wine, the priest prays, “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the Divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” That’s what the Christmas season is all about. St. Augustine put it this way: “God became man that man might become God.” Baptism gives us our identity as “the people of life” (Evangelium Vitae n.79). Baptized into Christ’s victory over death, we are also sent to proclaim, celebrate, and serve that victory (see EV 78-101). When we renew the vows of our baptism, we say that we “reject Satan and all his works.” Chief among those works is death. Yet the Son of God has destroyed death, and that means that we who follow Him likewise are called to stand against it. Abortion is a contradiction to baptism. Consider what the Church does in the celebration of baptism. A child is brought into the congregation, and is welcomed by all who are present as a brother, a sister. Despite the fact that all but a few of the gathered Christians do not know this child, and did not know the child’s name, they declare before God that they now accept the child as one of them. Baptism expresses God’s unconditional welcome of His people, His call to them to share His life. Baptism expresses the hospitality of God’s Church, and the responsibility incurred by the fact that God has entrusted us to the care of one another.

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