The Pastor's Column

Fr. Maina

The Challenge of Baptism

I appreciate your warm welcome to this parish, which has become a home for me, and being with you while Fr Maina, is away on pilgrimage in the holy land. Christmas is a time of family and so coming here is coming to celebrate with you as my family. In the spirit of family we have come this weekend to celebrate the baptism of the Lord, who reveals himself to us as the beloved son of God.

At his Baptism in the Jordan, Christ reveals himself to repentant sinners. The Baptism of the Lord Jesus is the great event celebrated by the Eastern churches on the feast of Epiphany because it is the occasion of the first public revelation of all the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, and the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world by God the Father. It is also an event described by all four Gospels, and it marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. The liturgical season of Christmas comes to a conclusion this Sunday with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. (You will for sure see the lights coming down and the decorations being put away as we enter Ordinary Time.)

The exalted identity of the “Son of God” revealed at his baptism is the starting point for all that Jesus will undertake—his self-giving ministry, death and Resurrection. It is because Jesus knows who he is that he does as he does. As we begin Ordinary Time, we do so knowing that, in our own Baptism, God has named us beloved sons and daughters. Like Jesus, all that we undertake must flow from who we are—God’s beloved. We are called to follow in the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This means that we too must humbly submit ourselves to God’s wise and loving plan for our lives and to the life of the parish as we usher in a new chapter. He, in turn, anoints us with the Holy Spirit that we may be clothed with His power and grace. Christ’s baptism was the exemplar of our own. Similarly, Heaven’s opening signifies that the power, the effectiveness of this Sacrament comes from above, from God, and that the baptized have the road to Heaven opened up for them, a road which Original Sin had closed. Jesus’ prayer after His baptism teaches us that “after Baptism man needs to pray continually in order to enter Heaven; for though sins are remitted through Baptism, there still remains the inclination to sin which assails us from within, and also the flesh and the devil which assails us from without.” (St. Thomas Aquinas)

Each time we dip our hand into the holy water font to bless ourselves, we need to remember that this act is a renewal of our Baptism. Just like Jesus at the Jordan, every baptized believer is formed and called by God, empowered with the presence of the Spirit, and elevated as a beloved child of God on whom God’s favor rests.

I would like to take this opportunity to say good- bye, as I am going back to Jersey. I will remember you in my prayers, and please remember me in yours, in my ministry as development officer in my community, and if you can, please support me.

God bless you!

Fr. Anthony