Baptism of the Lord
Joining a family
Being a new person
Points to note
Baptism is a sacrament of initiation. It is important to remember that a sacrament of initiation initiates a person into a community. Baptism is not merely a personal journey to meet God, but is also a person journey to meet a community. The baptism of Jesus was his way of meeting the community he was called to minister, the entire human race.
Emphasis should therefore be placed on the family and the Church when someone is baptised. Nobody goes alone to church to get baptised. We are brought there by our families. After baptism, we then become members of the family of the Church.
Note that as not all the children may have been baptised, discussions and activities must cater for them. Perhaps, they may be asked to share their experience of what they see when someone is baptised.
John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said:
This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The Lord be with you
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 1: 7-11)
In the course of his preaching John the Baptist said, “Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”
It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth from Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rest on you.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
How many families do we belong to? Two: the family at home and the family of the Church
How do we join the family at home? At birth
How do we join the family of the Church? At baptism
What happens at a baptism? Go through the various parts of the baptism. The baby is brought to church with the family. The priest asks the parents what name they wish to give the child. The priest then asks if the parents would help the baby grow in faith and love God and neighbours. The priest them baptises the child using the formulation “With this water, I baptise you [name] in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The family then returns home with a child who is now a member of God’s family.
Do only babies get baptised? Bigger children and adults get baptised as well. So did Jesus. It was at his baptism that Jesus met his family of the Church, the one that God had entrusted to him to love and minister to.
Draw parallels between the family at home and the family of the Church:
· families love one another;
· know each other’s name (note that when the priest asked the parents the name of the child at baptism and the parents reply, that was the first time the name of the baby was heard in the Church);
· share with one another;
· have meals together; etc..