YEAR OF FAITH - The Sacraments of Initiation (1) Baptism

Post date: Jun 14, 2013 1:51:04 PM

Bishop Malcolm’s discussion theme for this month concentrates our minds on the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism is the beginning of new life as a Christian, Confirmation strengthens this life; and the Eucharist nourishes it.

In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, we commemorate the great events in salvation history that prefigure Baptism. We hear about the Spirit of God hovering over the waters; and the crossing of the Red Sea when Israel was liberated from slavery. Faith has to come first, before Baptism. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” St. Paul declares to his jailer in Philippi; and the jailer “was baptised at once, with all his family.”

When adults are baptised, they are instructed, first, about the Word of God. Baptism follows the acceptance of the Gospel and a profession of faith. When infants are baptised, their family makes the profession of faith on their behalf, on the understanding that the child will be instructed about the Word of God as s/he grows up and becomes old enough to make their own profession of faith. The Sacrament of Baptism includes anointing with the oil of chrism to symbolise entry into Christ’s life as priest, prophet and king. The wearing of a white garment means that the newly baptised person has “put on Christ” and the candle, lit from the Easter Candle, signifies that Christ, the Light of the World, has enlightened the person holding it.

The newly baptised person is truly a child of God and entitled to say the Our Father prayer.

If you would like to study the Sacrament of Baptism, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, pages 276-289 and look up all the Scripture references.

Film number 6: A Body both suffering and glorious – the mystical union of Christ and the Church will be shown at Our Lady’s Parish Centre, on Thursday 27th June, from 7-9 pm. It is not necessary to have seen any of the other films. There is no charge and everyone is welcome.