Do you remember:
· parents going from the hospital to the Church before going to the farm?
· the insistence on selecting a ‘Christian’ name for the child?
· did you belong to a family that handed down a beautiful white robe to be used by all new children?
· Baptism at 3.00pm each Sunday afternoon?
As things changed:
· medicine and health care improved
· Baptism became more a part of the Mass
· candles and white stoles became the order of the day
· parents urged to attend pre baptismal classes (with Godparents)
· River and Marley and the like took over from Mary and James.
And then…well, I think I will let the children make up their own minds when they grow up.
Nonetheless, for many, Baptism is still a wonderful occasion, even in these troubled Covid times!
What, perhaps, is missing is that general feeling of expectancy amongst the community about the need for Baptism.
There had been many occasions in the long history when a Prophet had called for a sign of repentance and renewal sealed by a ritual of washing in the Jordan. People “flocked to John”. They were looking for more than just a ritual sign; and they got more than they bargained for. “You are my Son the Beloved.”
And for us, there is more than we anticipated in our personal Baptism.
There is the call:
· to leave the past behind
· to give ourselves over to a prayerful life
· to accept our role in renewing the face of the earth
· to return to a loving God, our love
· to, like Isaiah, “console my people, console them”.
This is a grand feast to remember our own Baptism (when, where, and who were our Godparents)
and to recommit ourselves “to live good and religious lives here in this present world”.
Let us take a step in that direction this Feast day.