How does Baptism help as we grow in our faith?
Baptism is the first sacrament our children receive accompanied by a jubilant family party. Eventually, we take Baptism for granted as we consider it a part of life as usual. But how does Baptism continue to touch our ordinary, everyday lives? “Let’s take a closer look,” as Seth Meyers the late-night talk show host would say.
Baptism bonds us to Jesus, making us his adopted brother or sister and God his Father, our father. Baptism by its anointing, water, and blessing lift us up to be family members in God’s divine household. I know we heard this before, but have we ever really thought of its consequences?
Since God loves us as deeply as he loves Jesus, he bestows on us all the gifts we need to resemble his son Jesus in our lives. This gift is the mysterious gift of abundant grace. And everyone receives this grace whether we cry at our baptism or peacefully sleep through the entire ceremony.
This wonderful gift of grace guides us to live in such a way that whether we are praying, reading a novel, or baking a cake, God’s glory finds a way to shine through. It’s a way we turn “small acts into great acts of praise to God.” God’s grace encourages us to make correct choices when correct choices need to be made.
Elisabeth is driving home from work today and she realizes it’s her Aunt Sophie’s eighty-first birthday. Aunt Sophie is a widow living alone in a retirement village. Elizabeth, her only niece, has to drive right past the village. Should she drop in for a personal visit or head home, relax, and just send an email?
Elizabeth is so tired after a long day teaching, but she considers how a few minutes can brighten her lonely aunt’s solitary life. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, the gift of grace given at her baptism helped her choose to stop and visit. It was a choice her aunt needed, and God wanted too. In the end all three were delighted: Aunt Sophie, God, and Elizabeth. You could tell by the smiles.
God’s grace mends what’s broken and lifts up what seems discouraging. The snowstorm finally halted leaving two feet of snow. Johnny, a high school senior, saw it as a chance at some easy money from shoveling. After four hours of shoveling paths, and driveways on his block, he was tired.
Heading home he passed the small, one-story bungalow where a single mother, Mrs. Grandi and her three children, all under six, lived. They didn’t have much, but they were a happy, cheerful family. Johnny considered: Should I clear the driveway and her front pathway? He was tired and the snow was wet and heavy. A warm dinner was waiting at home. He tossed the choices in his mind and thought of the three kids and their hard-working mother. He decided to ring the bell and offer to do it free of charge.
Mrs. Grandi looked relieved and grateful. The kids played as Johnny shoveled. Mrs. Grandi gave Johnny a hot freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread. Again, this gift of generosity was given at Johnny’s baptism. Gifts are always given to be shared. All were delighted: Johnny, Mrs. Grandi, and God.
At Baptism, God gives us an abundance of gifts to live out our lives. God doesn’t force us to use them, he wants us to choose to give them. Elizabeth and Johnny did just that. They made the choices that were needed. They were delighted and God was too for in Jesus kingdom God’s glory had a sunnier glow that day.
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Blessings, Fr. DeLillio