Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Second Sunday after Epiphany
14 January AD 2007

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English


    I would be remiss if I didn’t at least briefly call your attention to the fact that today’s Gospel recalls another of the Epiphany events—the final one, in fact, as our Lord begins His public life.  The changing of water into wine was, of course, a miracle—the first of a number of miracles “which manifested His glory, and caused His disciples to believe in Him.”[2]  Beside being acts of compassion, His miracles were generally a means of bringing nonbelievers to the faith.  And, whether of not “His time had come”—whether or not He had planned to begin His public ministry at that time—He worked the miracle to please His mother, who had compassion on the embarrassed bridal couple—a strong suggestion that we should always be close to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and allow her to place our needs before her Son.

    But today, by the grace of God, we are to witness the Sacrament of Baptism, conferred on our tiniest parishioner.  So a few words seem in order about that most fundamental of the Sacraments.

    To understand Baptism, it is best to start with Adam, the father of the human race.  Saint Luke traces the family tree of our Lord all the way back to Adam:  Jesus was “of David ... who was of Enos, who was of Seth, who was of Adam, who was of God.”[3]  It is tempting to translate that “Jesus was the son of David, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”[4]  Catholics usually reserve that last phrase, “son of God” for Jesus alone (with a capital “S”), but it is not wrong to apply it to Adam, whom God created on the sixth day to inherit his Father’s creation, the Earth.  “God created man to His own image ... male and female he created them.”[5]

    And, for some period of time, Adam and Eve enjoyed being the son and daughter of God, conversing with Him freely, enjoying the fruits of paradise, with the prospect of immortality.  But, as we know, most of these wonderful advantages were lost through the disobedience of original sin.  And what they no longer had, they could not pass down to their descendents.  Just as the rich man who has squandered his fortune has nothing to leave to his children, Adam and Eve could not pass on to us the inheritance of sons and daughters of God.  Worse—beyond this “original sin”—we all have disobeyed God on our own, committing what we call “actual sins.”

    But God’s plans are not easily thwarted, and. “in the fullness of time,” He sent His divine Son Jesus Christ.  And Jesus “came unto His own and His own received Him not;  but to as many as received Him he gave the power of becoming sons of God.”[6]  Jesus, who was both God and man, was able represent all of mankind—offering the perfect gift of Himself on the Cross to the Father—in exchange for men and women having “the power of becoming sons of God.”  Jesus Christ, who is the true Son of God, gave those of us who receive Him, the power to become His adopted brothers and sisters.

    In his Epistle, Saint Peter tells us that:  “Christ died ... for our sins, the just for the unjust.... And as in the days of Noe ... a few souls were saved through water.  Its counterpart, Baptism, now saves you also.”[7]

    In the early days of Christianity, Baptism was conferred by lowering the person completely into and under the water—it was, symbolically, like being lowered into a grave.  Saint Paul tells us that:  “We who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death.  For we have been buried together with Him by Baptism, so that as Christ has risen from the dead ... we also may walk in newness of life.  If we have been planted in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”[8]  “Buried with Him in Baptism ... you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead.”[9]

    So vital is this Sacrament that our Lord commanded His disciples to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”[10]  “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel.  He who believes and is baptized shall be saved;  but he that does not believe shall be condemned.”[11]  Please note that “Observing all that I have commanded you” is a great deal more than “the religion of thinking happy thoughts” that is so much a part of modernist Christianity—those who do “not believe shall be condemned.”

    But young José, here, will be baptized, and through the good efforts of his family he will come to believe.  Let us take just a few more minutes to see what that will mean to him.  What are the effects of Baptism?

    The first thing is the remission of all sin: original sin and actual sin.  Now he is a bit small to have done much wrong on his own, but, in Baptism, original sin will be removed, and he will become a son of God;  the lingering stain of Adam and Eve’s sin will be washed away.

    Had he been older, and guilty of any sins of his own, those sins would be forgiven and all punishment due to those sins would be remitted.  That is why, if someone is baptized as an adult, no penance is assigned for any of the sins committed up to that time.

    From a more positive perspective, in Baptism, he will receive an infusion of God’s graces and virtues.  Sanctifying grace will make him a son of God, and he will be blessed with faith, hope, and charity, and with any of the other graces and virtues necessary for him to grow into a good Catholic young man.

    He will be given sacramental grace to meet the responsibilities implied by Baptism.  If he cooperates with this grace he will grow in faith, and be able to keep the baptismal promises made for him today by his godparents.

    Finally—and this is why Baptism can never be repeated—he will receive on his soul the ineffaceable, irremovable “character” or “mark” of Baptism.  For all eternity, he will be a member of the Catholic Church, capable of receiving the other Sacraments, and benefiting from the graces associated with them.

    So let us pray today, that our youngest parishioner may receive all of these graces and do good things with them—that he will grow and persevere in faith and good works, so that some day, many years in the future, he will see God face to face, and sit down with Him as a son with his Father.

    Let us pray also for the spread of the authentic Catholic Faith—pray that all nations will be taught, and many will be baptized and keep all that Jesus has commanded us, that they too may become sons and daughters of God, eventually to enjoy the happiness of heaven.



[2]   Gospel:  John ii: 1-11.

[3]   Luke iii: 31, 38  Confraternity of Christian Doctrine version.  tou dauid ... tou enwV tou shq tou adam tou qeou.

[4]   As does King James.

[5]   Genesis i: 27.

[6]   John i: 11-12.

[7]   Cf. 1 Peter iii: 18-22.

[8]   Cf. Romans vi: 3-5

[9]   Colossians ii: 11, 12.

[10]   Matthew xxviii: 19.

[11]   Mark xvi: 15-16.


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