Baptism of the Lord

Steve sat with his wife and their two month old baby in the pew.  With them were their two best friends who were going to be the godparents. As they waited for the priest to get things ready for the Baptism of their daughter Steve let his mind wander a bit.  He was thinking to himself: “What a path my life has taken!” He had been a teenager who left home in his early twenties. While on his own he had lived a totally out of control life and everything had fallen apart.  But then he met Mary Ellen. She had a good influence on him. Steve started to settle a bit. They eventually married and had their first child. But Steve felt like some was missing (in his life).

The priest began the Baptism ceremony.  And for some reason Steve started to pay attention to what the priest was saying.  The first thing that caught his attention was when he heard these words: You and your wife will be the first teachers of your daughter in the ways of the Faith. Then this:  Your child will be changed. The hidden, but powerfully active God is transforming her. Through this sacrament the Spirit of God will dwell in her in a much more intense way.  Even if she should, at some point, stray from the Church, the Spirit of God remains with her and the Holy Spirit will provide opportunities for her to return to God in the Church.  It might be through other people or events in her life or simply because she knows there is more to life than what this world has to offer. The truth is: there is a God who has loved her into existence, given her a purpose, and promises to be faithful to her in good times and in bad.  

Those words really resonated with Steve.  He hadn’t been taking his Catholic faith seriously at all.  Even though he had settled down, he still didn’t think he really needed God in his life.  Yet, here he was expected to raise his daughter in a faith he didn’t practice himself. And he thought, did God really love me as much as this priest said God loved my daughter — to be with me through the good times and the bad?  My life seems to have lacked something. Maybe that something is a belief in something beyond this world. Maybe God’s promises are for real.

It was as if all his life came to this point and Steve was called to hear God’s call and take Christ seriously.  And this is what Steve did. The Spirit of God helped him put his life in order — to see things from the right perspective – to become a man of wisdom who sought God’s help every day of his life.

How about you?   Will you let God’s Spirit, who already dwells in you, guide you and make known to you all that Christ did and taught?  On this day when we remember how Jesus allowed himself to be baptized by John in the Jordan, we ask ourselves this question:  Do I believe that the Spirit of God dwells in me as a result of my Baptism? As a parent, am I sharing the gift of my faith with my children as best I can?  Am I giving good example in the practice of my faith? Are we praying for those who have fallen away from the faith and seeking opportunities to help them possibly return?  We all have been given a great gift. God dwells in each of us. Have we lost sight of this precious gift? Remember, Christ will never abandon us no matter what happens in our life.

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