The Baptism of the Lord (Homily)
When we prepare infants for their Baptism, the Church invites parents and godparents to be present and participate in the Infant Baptism Instruction, first. In the instruction, the Church reminds parents and godparents of their responsibilities in awakening their children’s faith and educating, guiding and teaching them how to love our Christ and to believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church (also known as the four marks of our Church). The Church expects them to journey with their children and godchildren till they reach their age of reasons.
I remembered, in one of the instances, these parents have shared with me how their child’s godparents have left their Catholic faith. They were asking permission to have new godparents of their children. Without going into the details of the outcome of that instance, let us reflect on how this came out.
Often parents choose godparents for their children among their closest friends, immediate relatives and so on without looking (to some extent, evaluate) at their faith and their lives. Sometimes, it is because they promised their friends or families this special and permanent role, as a way to strengthen their current relationship/friendships, or to extent, it is to appreciate each other so much, that they are “bestowed” that role in their children’s lives. Is this enough? Should we not reflect further than these justification in godparent selection? Answer is, YES, we should. What is also mind shattering is that, in some other instances, parents presented their children for the Sacrament of Baptism, just for the sake of ritual that everyone does that as a Christian. Should we reflect on that? YES, we should, as well.
The Church always reminds us of the role of the parents and godparents to give these beautiful kids, a Christian upbringing of faith until they become adult life. Frankly, even when we are already adults, we are still babies in the eyes of our parents. So, parenting, and godparenting, is a lifelong role and responsibility. We must always remember that. To help these parents and godparents, our Parish community must set good examples in passing on their faith and being witnesses of Christ in their own Christian living. This is to create that Christian environment (soil) for our children (plants) to grow up/older beautifully. As parents and godparents participate in the life of the Church, the faith of the little children too will grow in maturity.
Today, the Church celebrates the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Firstly, this brings to an end the season of Christmas. Secondly, Jesus began His public life after being baptised at the Jordan River. Therefore, when a child receives the Sacrament of Baptism, he or she enters into the life of the Church and receives a call to a personal vocation. This Sacrament is the gateway for us to enter into the Church community and become members of the family of God – the Body of Christ. Therefore, we begin our faith journey and our relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Today, the Church invites us to renew our own baptismal commitments by renouncing our sins and profess our faith in Jesus Christ and His Church so that we may be renewed as followers of Christ in holiness and in ministry. We leave behind all the works of satan and all his empty promises and strive to live our personal vocation – to live a life of Holiness. Parents and godparents must play that very important role to live their faith in more responsible ways. Parents and godparents, must not forget their duties to pray for their children and godchildren every day. This is indeed a special way of how you protect them. So, remember to include them in your daily prayers.
When Jesus began His public ministry after His baptism, He started His mission here on earth faithfully, just to fulfil the Will of His and our beloved Father. He is showing us that we too can emulate the same, but carrying out our personal vocations and missions God has planned for each one of us. One thing in common, is that we need to bring the message of Christ to the whole world, to our neighbours, community, our family members, our friends, our work colleagues etc. Be that instrument for God, and let God do the rest, through the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we must follow the life of Jesus as we carry out His mission on earth because our Father will say to you what He said to Jesus Christ, “You are my beloved sons and daughters, in whom I am well pleased.”
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy