Blog # 340 Our Baptismal Identity
A man receives an MD degree from Harvard Medical school; a woman passes the bar examination in Philadelphia; a man receives his badge as a police officer in Cincinnati all on the same day, June 1, 2014. Each of the three had a certain degree of knowledge and a certain competence on the day before June 1 as they had on the day after. The primary and essential difference that twenty four hours made in their lives was signified but not constituted by the badge and certificates they received.
Rather the difference was something within them. Yesterday's knowledge and competence had been measured as adequate to receive and sustain a new personal and essentially different recognition, identification, and authorization for a definite work or goal. Now, and only now, were they a medical doctor, a lawyer, and a police officer with all of the privileges and responsibilities that went with their new identification.
It is something like this with our Catholic theology of Baptism. If we Baptized a baby weighing ten pounds on June 1, we should not be surprised that the baby weighed ten pounds on June 2. Fitting amazement however should come from our faith conviction that this little baby, humanly equal to every other baby born throughout the world, yet personally unique among them, is now a new creation ( 2 Cor. 5: 17 ), a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6: 19), united with Jesus in a new mode of life ( Jn. 3: 15), and consequently united with all others who have been Baptized throughout the world as branches of a single vine (Jn 15: 5), the Church.
Though a doctor is not always prescribing medicine, a lawyer is not always in a courtroom, and a police officer is not always directing traffic, each of them is always a doctor, a lawyer, or a police officer. Their identity in each of these categories is internal and comprehensive.
Each of them is always and everywhere what they have been identified to be. So it is for a Baptized Christian. We are personally and officially identified internally and comprehensively with Jesus always and everywhere. "Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is Yours, Almighty Father, for ever and ever."
The greatest act Jesus performed was to give His life on the Cross. To love means to give. Calvary was absolutely the most perfect act of love, ever, the Eternal Word of God, in Jesus, giving His life, all He had on earth to give, in obedience to the Father's will.( Jn. 14 31). Identified with Jesus through Baptism, the love of Jesus is to be our love. Our obedience is to be the obedience of Jesus, all the way up to and including our greatest act of love, our death.
Let us pray. Lord Jesus, guide us in our quest for happiness and peace, with ourselves and in the world in which we live at this particular moment in history. Remind us over and ever again that You did not leave us orphans, that you are ever with us and within us, ever calling us to discover the Father's unique plan for each of us in our knowledge of history and the lives of Your Saints, in Scripture, in the Church, in our everyday experience of life, in the needs and stories of those around us, in our conscience, and in our prayer, Amen!
Scripture references : Heb. 10 5 - 9; Jn. 4:34; 5: 30; 6: 38; 7: 18; Mat, 6: 10; Jn 4:34; 8: 27,29; 15: 13,17; 14: 15, 23, 30, 31).