Baptising in the name of the Holy Trinity
Points to note
Easter season has just finished and we are not back into the ordinary season of the liturgical year. The readings will remain with the Gospel according to St Mark, with a few exceptions like in this week, until the end of the liturgical year.
If you do wish to go into the intricacies of the Trinity, this will be in the leaflet for Year A.
In this reading, the injunction from Jesus calls on the Apostles, the first bishops to baptise in the name of the Trinity. Names are very important to the ancients. That is why important people in the Bible had their names changed by God at critical times of their lives: Abraham; Jacob; Peter. The Bible also emphasises naming of persons and often gives the meaning of the names.
In the ancient world, the authority to give or to change someone’s name confers a certain power and ownership of the namer (is this the right word?) over the named. Therefore, to be baptised in the name of the Trinity would seal the Trinity’s ownership over us.
This would also be an opportunity to share everyone’s names in the group. You may want to have a book of names to give meaning to names.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit the God who is, who was, and who is to come.
Explain that this story took place after Jesus rose from the dead and just before he ascended into heaven.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
(Mt 28: 16-20)
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, “All authority has in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Does anyone remember their baptism? Some of the children may have been baptism as children and not babies while some others may have witnessed a baptism. Get them to talk about the more salient happenings during the baptism.
There is one point in the celebration where the baby is brought up to the priest for the baptism itself. Before the baptism, the priest asks the parents for the name of the baby. This will be a good opportunity to go through the room and ask every child what his or her parents said. Do it slowly with respect and holiness when they say their names as the ritual of naming can be a solemn affair.
Point out that when their parents called out their names, it was the first time that the Christian community heard their name and the Christian community accepted that name by welcoming the baby into the Church through baptism.
Explain that the choice of names and their meanings are very important. That is why in the ancient world, people chose the names of their children because of the meaning and not just because they sounded nice. No one would have wanted their parents to name them Porky for instance!! If you have a book of names, you may wish to go search out the meaning of names of each child.
Explain also that sometimes, people are named after someone famous, someone the parents like or respect a lot. It could be a film star, a world leader, or a family member. Ask if any of the children know if they have been named after someone.
When parents named a child after someone, they hope that the child will take on the qualities of that person. Guess what the parents would want their daughter to grow up to be if they have named her Britney? Catholics like to name their children after saints in hope that they will grow up to be like the saint.