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Baptism

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“Baptism';

     In the Greek language of Jesus’ day, the word baptizo meant to dip or immerse an object in water. In its Christian use baptizo came to mean the act of Baptism, or the washing and cleansing of something to renew it. Jesus’ Baptism took place in the Jordan River. (Gospel According to Mark) John, an apostle, was the man responsible for this glorious moment in religious history. Later, he would be known as John the Baptist because of this. During the baptism God spoke from the Heavens through his spirit, proclaiming baby Jesus to be his beloved son.

“You are my beloved son, with you I am well pleased.';

     During the Baptism, the Holy Trinity was made known to us by the presence of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Through the waters of Baptism we share in Christ’s death and resurrection. The water symbolizes not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. Baptism is a declaration to the world that says, “I have died to the old way of life. Sin will no longer rule over me for my old self has been buried. I have been resurrected by the power of God to live a new life in Christ Jesus';. Through Baptism we are given our Christian name by our parents, which is blessed by the priest, or deacon, using the Trinitarian Formula. (“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I name you…';) This is the beginning of our lifelong relationship with God in His church. First we must believe and have faith in the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit during the Baptism of Jesus. In the scriptures according to Mark, (16:16), Jesus said:

“Whoever believes and is baptized, will be saved, whoever does not believe will be condemned';

     These words show us that all our invited to be one with Christ, and none will be segregated regardless of race, color or creed. We can all be initiated into the Church of Christ through this first basic sacrament of Baptism. We break our ties with the original sin that we are born with, and are set free.
     Through the scriptures we know that the disciples were authorized to baptize the people. In the Gospel according to Mathew, (28:19), Jesus said:

“Go to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples. Baptize them, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit';
     
Today, a bishop, priest or deacon may administer the sacrament. This is usually done between a child’s birth and his/her third birthday. However, this sacrament can be administered to people of any age. In the event of an emergency, such as imminent death, any lay person with the right intent can perform the baptism. Through tradition, the individual being baptized wears a white garment or dress symbolizing the purity of the soul as it is cleansed. This tradition, however, is more common in persons of Irish and Italian descent. Water is poured on the head three times. The pouring of water symbolizes the gift of new life given to us through Jesus. Just as there is no life without water, which makes things grow as well as cleansing them and making them bright and new. The baptized person emerges in the same state after the sacrament, with the promise to continue to grow in God’s grace. In the Gospel according to John, (3:5), Jesus said:

“No one can enter the Kingdom of God, unless he is born of water and the Holy Spirit';

     When we are baptized, we are welcomed into the Church. When I watched the video of my Baptism, the first word my uncle, who is a deacon, said was, “Welcome';. The Pascal Candle was lit, symbolizing eternal life. I was anointed with Holy Oil, which symbolizes the strength to follow in God’s footsteps. Godparents were chosen for me. Their duty was to affirm their own faith first, and to promise to help me grow as a faithful Christian. Everybody in the church shared the experience. They had a chance to renew their baptismal vows, when the deacon recited: “Do you renounce Satan and all his deadly works?'; to which the people responded: “I do';. From that day on I began my journey in faith, a journey that will continue the rest of my life.

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