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Father Muench Says...

Advent message: We are baptized people

Dec. 2, 2015

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Advent – I baptized a baby on the First Sunday of Advent and it turned out to be a perfect time for a Baptism. 
Each year as Advent begins, we celebrate again our time of preparation to bring Jesus more completely into our lives at Christmas.  Advent opens our hearts again to the coming of Jesus to our world – just as this baby was born into his family.

So, let’s talks about Baptism, the time that our Catholic Church brings Jesus into our lives sacramentally.  This sacrament brings a unique change into each of our lives as we become members of Christ’s Church, even as infants.  When understood properly, our destiny is changed.  The Sacrament of Baptism marks each of us as a disciple of Jesus. Adults who are baptized become disciples of Jesus, disciples with a mission. 

Their mission as a disciples of Jesus is to make this world a better place by living out their Baptism. 

The message of Advent – as we enter Advent again – is to recognize who we are.  We are baptized people.  This is God’s message to us: live like a baptized person.  The way we live should indicate to others we are baptized people.

The first step is to realize that in Baptism, we become adopted children of God.  This child indeed is born again.  It is a good way to look at our Sacrament of Baptism.  So just as being born into this human world, we are born again in Baptism to God’s family.  This makes each individual new and unique; we now have a unique relationship with God.

Consider this – the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.  Without hesitation Jesus teaches them what we call the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus taught them the Our Father. 

For those people at that time this was a rather different way of thinking of God. They would never think that God would be that close to them – close like a Father.  So Jesus teaches all of us in this way that God wants a close, intimate relationship with his people, that, in Baptism God, becomes our Father and we become adopted children of God. Our Father is a Father who cares for us, a Father who longs to guide us, a Father who wants to be part of our lives even from the time of infancy.

Advent is a time each year to bring new life into our plan toward holiness.  Jesus teaches us that Baptism is our call to holiness.  Baptism is the start of our journey to sainthood.  Life is filled with questions of how to live a good life, of how to live a holy life.  The best guide for this is Jesus. In Baptism our relationship with Jesus becomes close as adopted children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus. We can and should then become a friend of Jesus, who wants to be our friend.  Jesus is our incarnate Savior who walked this earth and lived among us, died for us and rose again to new life.  We have someone who knows us so well; he is truly our guide to holiness.

The very ritual of Baptism demonstrates to us our call to follow Jesus to holiness.  St. Paul makes this clear when he reminds us that in Baptism we die with Christ and with Jesus we rise again to new life.  So in Baptism we begin that resurrected life with Jesus and we do this best by living our Baptism. Baptism, like all of our sacraments, is a celebration.  Our sacramental celebrations are moments of new life and peace.  There is a deep joy that fills our hearts with love and we experience with happiness that the love that God is with us – always.
Catherine Doherty wrote this about celebration: “Celebration is the song of praise coming from the heart of a human being and going to the heart of God.” 

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