Bulletin 7 January 2023

Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord

The Origins of Baptism

The practice of Baptism goes back to the very origins of the Christian Church. First, there was the ministry of John the Baptist. The ritual washing at that stage was only a prefiguring of the Christian sacrament. John’s ritual was all about forgiveness of sin in order to escape the wrath of God at the end of the world, which many people of the time thought was imminent. Jesus was baptised by John to identify with sinful humanity, though he was without sin himself. As a result, from then on, the ritual began to have a new meaning. The heavens were opened; the Father spoke; the Holy Spirit descended (Mk 1:9-11). The ritual was radically changed: the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit make it a Trinitarian experience. The basic reality of Baptism lies in the fact that people are not born Christians; they have to become Christians. Baptism is the beginning of that process. It is not a once off, an end in itself; it is the gateway to Christianity and the door of the Church. St Paul gives us a profound and mysterious notion of the grace of Baptism. For the Apostle the death and resurrection of Christ form the watershed from which all the graces of salvation come to us (Rom 4:25). Our Baptism is our first immersion in that mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom 6:3-6). As Paul understands it, we share in Christ’s death by dying to our old selves, and we are said to rise with him by coming to share in the graces of his risen life. There is further evidence of this understanding of baptism in the Pauline corpus; it occurs in Colossians: ‘When you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead’ (Colossians 2:12). Full immersion in water is the symbol of entering into the death of Christ and rising with him. The term baptism is derived from the Greek baptizein, meaning to immerse, to plunge. Here in the parish of Christ the King we celebrate infant baptisms on the first and third Saturday of the month, at 4.30 pm. Application forms are available from the sacristy. In preparation for that important event we have a meeting with the parents in the Parish Centre about a fortnight before the ceremony. This gives parents the opportunity to reflect on the decision they are taking in relation to their child. Baptism should be requested when parents want to raise their child in the Catholic faith. Just because it is customary to have a baby baptised is not sufficient reason to apply for the sacrament of baptism. As a community we pray that the sacrament of baptism celebrated here in 2024 will be a genuine initiation of a new Christian.

Morning Coffee in the Parish Centre on Tuesday next, 9th January, after the 10.00 Mass

Parish Assembly meets Monday 15th January

Second Collection Next Sunday is for Diocesan Needs.

Recent Deaths:  Eileen O’Keeffe, Fr Matthew Road; Patricia Daly, Wilton Gardens. We pray for them and we sympathise with their families