God’s Chosen and Beloved Child

I have been in contact with a friend who is now a grandfather. He tells me dearly wishes his grandson to be baptised. He says his son and partner are not religious. He also told me he has spoken with the other grandparents saying: “It would be nice if he was baptised because he is special.” Their reply was “We don’t do that in our family. It is not our tradition.” For some today baptism is a cultural and ritual moment. It is something that we do because we are Catholic or Christian.

It is good on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord to remind ourselves of the importance and necessity of baptism in the mission of the Church. The necessity of being baptised should not be treated lightly. In the Instruction of Infant Baptism it states: “it is a necessity that has lost none of its importance and urgency, especially when what is at stake is ensuring that the child receives the infinite blessing of eternal life.”

In the gospel we hear for this Sunday Jesus is baptised by John. While at prayer “the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily for like a dove. And a voice came from heaven “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.”

The identity that we received in our baptism is that we too are God’s chosen and beloved child. Thus, what more important gift can be given to our child than this gift of eternal life?

God loves us from the first moment of being. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” I exist because our Heavenly Father loves me and chose me. In Baptism we are given that gift of eternal life and we become part of the community or family of God. We were indelibly marked and joined to Jesus. From that moment we are reborn and we are able grow and experience God’s love within the community of the church. We are able to grow and become like Jesus because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

For parents it is painful when they have brought their child for baptism and nurtured their faith and ensured that they receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and encounter Christ in the Eucharist, only to see them drift away or neglect the gift they have. It is important to remember that God never abandoned them and ceases to love them once he has chosen them.

Let us pray today for all parents as they carry out their responsibility in awaking their children’s faith and helping them to love Christ as a close friend.

Canon Father Anthony
Canon Father AnthonyParish Priest