“Baptism is the initial step of a faithful heart.” ~ Max Lucado
Do you reject Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises? Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
These questions are asked of all the faithful this weekend at all the Masses as we celebrate the last day of the Christmas season. It is a fitting celebration and they are fitting questions once we remind ourselves, for the final time, what Christmas is all about. Remember, when we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the two-fold coming of Jesus Christ. Not only do we celebrate the birthday of the Lord, we also remember that baby – now grown up, who suffered, died, and rose from the dead – will come again in glory. At His second coming, we must be ready.
The only way to be ready for the Lord is to live the life of a fully committed Christian. We must be a people of peace and justice. We must be a people of compassion and mercy. We must embody all the virtues of Christ and eschew the values of the world which directly contradict our faith and our Lord.
In order to do that, we remind ourselves of what we renounce and what we embrace. Renouncing sin and its many lures and embracing God and His holy virtues will keep us on the path to the Kingdom of God. Each of us took that first step toward the Kingdom the day that we were baptized.
Many, if not most, of us were baptized as children. Some of us may have been baptized as teens or adults. Our baptisms started our initiation into the Family of God here on earth and committed us to follow the laws of God in our daily lives. Our baptisms also opened for us the channels for God’s graces. With the stain of original sin washed clean from our souls, we were given the opportunity, at the end of our earthly days, to go to heaven.
But, baptism is not an automatic in. It is an invitation to live the life of faith day in and day out, twenty-four/seven, three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. We should never stop. We should never look the other way. We should never try to find an alternative for any alternative to a life in Christ leads to spiritual death. Christ came on Christmas morn to bring us the opportunity for eternal life. We embrace that great gift in our salvation history and do all that we can to live up to our call as Christians.
FAITH ACTION: Reflect upon the sacrament of Baptism and ask God to give you the strength to renew yourself in His love today.