From the Pastor
of the Resurrection
of the Lord
April 16, 2017
Happy Easter, Alleluia, Alleluia! Even on this most joyful of days, we must take time to learn more about our great Catholic Faith. For your Easter reflection, I’ll reflect on two parts of the annual Renewal of Baptismal Promises, which is required
only at the Easter VIGIL Mass, and is an option, in lieu of the Creed, at Easter DAY Masses. Why? The Easter VIGIL Mass, the Mother of all Vigils, is the most important and climatic Mass of the liturgical year; but since far more people attend the Easter DAY Masses [and some sadly avoid the VIGIL Mass at all costs!], this key component of Easter may be repeated. So let’s look at the introduction and conclusion of the annual Renewal of Baptismal Promises.
Renewal of Baptismal Promises – Introduction
Dear brothers and sisters, through the
Paschal mystery we have been
buried with Christ in Baptism, so that we may walk with him in newness of life. And so,
now that our Lenten observance is concluded, let us renew the promises of holy Baptism,
by which we once renounced
Satan and his works
and promised to serve God
in the holy Catholic Church. And so I ask you:
BURIED WITH CHRIST THROUGH BAPTISM.
This profoundly theological, biblically-based line, is based on two quotes from Saint Paul found in Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; it is also based on what Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?’ To which Jesus said: ‘No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.'” [c.f. John 3:3-5]
However, being ‘born again’ in Baptism is just the first step!
For while we are graced
“with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” [Ephesians 1:3]
by God when He made us His own in Baptism, we also inherit the fallout of our first parents, Adam and Eve’s ‘Original Sin.’ So each year we are offered the opportunity to reject Satan and all his empty promises with three
“I do’s” – and then we renew our commitment to our triune God with three “I do’s” to our belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet there’s still more, for we also recommit ourselves to God’s holy Church, to her Sacraments and teachings, her communal activities in which we gain the strength to reject evil and live for God – to ‘die to self’ and to ‘live for Christ.’ Keep this in mind each time you
‘re-up’ in the Renewal of Baptismal Promises.
Brief Address – Renewal of Baptismal Promises
And may almighty God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has given us new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit
and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord,
for eternal life.
MAY GOD KEEP US BY HIS GRACE.
We cannot fulfill the promises we make at Baptism without God’s grace. However, as with all things, we must start with what God has done for, and continues to offer to us. As the conclusion of this annual Easter Rite notes, God gives us ‘new birth by water and the Holy Spirit’ [Baptism] and [Confirmation]; the ‘forgiveness of our sins’
[Penance]’ and a pledge to ‘keep us by his grace in Christ Jesus our Lord’ [Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony & Holy Orders]. And God fulfills all these promises to us through His Church … especially, as I just noted, through the Sacraments; but are we keeping our end of this unbelievable bargain?
We cannot be passive and certainly not inactive if our new life in Christ is going to take root, develop and grow, benefit us and save us. So many analogies apply: health club membership does us no good unless we workout at the gym; a driver’s license is useless unless we learn to drive … and get in the car and go; a winning lottery ticket does us no good until we redeem it, and suffer the consequences [loss of privacy, taxes, etc.] needed to claim our prize. So, too, with our Baptism and our new life in Christ!
What will you do this Eastertime to better know, understand and enjoy your new life in Christ?
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS