Jan. 9, 2022 – Our Baptismal Identity
When we meet to introduce ourselves to someone new, there are usually three things we typically say. First, we say our name. Second, we often say who we’re related to; that we are so-and-so’s friend or neighbor, husband, wife, father, mother, sibling, etc.
Third, we often say what we do: I’m a carpenter, or a teacher, or a nurse, or a doctor, or a farmer, or a banker, etc.
These three things – our name, who we are related to, and what we do – are very much a part of who we are, of our identity.
In our baptism, we receive a new identity. We receive a name in baptism. An important part of the baptismal ritual is that our parents are asked what name is given to us, and then we are specifically baptized by name! But not only our given name at baptism but also, we receive Christ’s name in that we are called Christians.
Thus we also receive a new relationship. We have a new relationship with God the Father as we are made his beloved sons and beloved daughters, just as in Christ’s baptism, God affirmed Him as the “beloved Son.” Thus we have a new relationship with God the Son and we share in His identity. We have a new relationship with God the Holy Spirit, as in baptism, the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us. Finally, we receive a new relationship with the Church and the Mystical Communion of Saints as we are now part of this family.
Finally, what we do. In baptism, we also receive a mission, what we are to do. We share in Christ’s mission as a priest, prophet, and king. Priest: to offer praise and worship to God, and to pray and intercede for others. Prophet: to share the Gospel of Christ with others and invite them into a relationship with Him. King: to order the things of this world: our money and good, our community, society, and culture, ever more fully in accord with the Gospel. To work for social justice and to care for the poor.
So everything we are and we do is rooted in or at service to the identity we receive in baptism: All our other identities and relationships are shaped by the identity we have as God’s beloved and as brothers and sisters of Christ. The work we do is to serve the greater work of glorifying God, sanctifying humanity, and building the kingdom of God.
As we celebrate the Baptism of Christ this Sunday, let us remember the meaning of our own baptism and what it means for how we live.
PS: A reminder that as I, Fr. Kevin, as well as Fr. Frantz will be gone this week, there will be no daily Masses this week of Jan. 10-Jan. 14.