Sunday, 12th January – Feast Of the Baptism of the Lord
Reflection: Matthew 3: 13-17
ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?
This is a question you and I must have encountered sometime in our lives. It is not unusual for us to meet with individuals who are ready to share their faith with us and begin with the question: Are you born again? However, as common as this question is, it is one that most Catholics avoid because they are not sure of the answer to give.
What does it really mean to be “born again”? The phrase “born again” was used by Christ as He spoke with Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to Him by night (John 3:3). Christ did not leave us in the dark as to the meaning of this expression. At the request of Nicodemus, Jesus explained further: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). Hence, contrary to what is commonly preached by those who put this question to you, being born again is not limited to accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour. It goes a step further to mean being baptized.
Baptism is the rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit which Christ talks about and which is manifest in the gospel reading of today as we see the Holy Spirit descending on Christ and hear the voice of God affirming Christ’s sonship at His baptism. Baptism is the sacrament that opens the way to the Christian life, cleansing us from original and actual sins and making us children of God and members of Christ’s body, the Church. Hence, if you have been baptized whether as an infant or adult, you have renounced the devil and professed your belief in God and the salvation He has won for you through His son, Jesus Christ and you are born again.
The challenge for you and I is to live in the new life of Christ. We must each day, renew our commitment to Christ, draw closer to Him in His word and in prayers and receive the strength from the Eucharist and the sacrament of confession so as to live the new life He has called us to live. (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for granting me new life in you at my baptism. Please give me the grace to allow this new life to take root in me and help me to nourish my faith so that my life will bear fruits of this rebirth. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 194 – What is Baptism?
Baptism is the way out of the kingdom of death into life, the gateway to the Church, and the beginning of a lasting communion with God.
…Baptism unites us with Jesus Christ, incorporates us into his redemptive death on the Cross, thereby freeing us from the power of Original Sin and all personal sins, and causes us to rise with him to a life without end. Since Baptism is a covenant with God, the individual must say Yes to it. In the baptism of children, the parents confess the Faith on behalf of the children.
HIDE A TREASURE
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” 2Corinthians 5:17 RSV-CE
Readings for today: Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34-38; Matthew 3: 13-17