Dear Parish Family,
Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, the day on which we commemorate Christ’s baptism by John in the Jordan.
Baptism is a sacrament and like all sacraments it was instituted by Christ. Jesus commanded His apostles to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This baptismal formula has endured and is used today; without it, baptism is not valid. Should you ever hear someone attempting to baptize “in the name of the Creator, and the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier” or any other formula than the one commanded by Christ and taught by His holy Church, that baptism is not valid. The person is not baptized.
Baptism is the first sacrament that a person receives; as such, it is the gateway to the other sacraments. In baptism and through the power of the Holy Spirit, all of the faithful are united into one body… the Body of Christ, His holy Church. In baptism, sin is forgiven and we receive new birth through the Holy Spirit.
All sin is forgiven in Baptism; the sacrament also washes away punishment due for sin. The sanctifying grace received in baptism is a tremendous aid in the struggle against sin.
In baptism, we are reborn as adopted children of God; we become partakers in the divine nature, a fellow heir with Christ, and a member of Christ. Baptism brings us into the family of God on earth, which is the Church.
All of the faithful baptized are called to be witnesses to the beauty of the Christian faith; they have been called to participate in Christ’s missionary and apostolic work because they have been united in Christ and infused with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Once made a child of God in baptism, a person is a child of God for all eternity.