What is Baptism?
Jesus became man to bring us to reconciliation with his Father. In John 3:5 Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is first-born of water and Spirit.” After his Resurrection, Jesus met with the eleven Apostles and gave them the commission to preach the Gospel and baptize, telling them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved (Mk 16:16).”
Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. “He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake . . . to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water.” (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Liturgy of the Hours, I, 634).
Through baptism we are born again, not on a physical level but a spiritual one. We are baptized into Jesus’ death and therefore share in His Resurrection (Romans 6:3-7). Baptism cleanses us of sins and brings the Holy Spirit and His grace into our souls (Acts 2:38, 22:16).
Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin—original and actual—and begin to live a new life with God.
When do we celebrate baptism?
At St. Patrick’s, Baptism is often celebrated on Sundays after the 11:00 am Mass. If you are interested in receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, please call the parish office for further information. Baptism for adults is a part of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
For more information about Baptism, please see the Online Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Baptism in the Catechism
1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”– Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1285