Celebrant: Because of our baptism, we are able to offer these petitions to God as our Father. We therefore pray with confidence.
That the Church may effectively lead all peoples to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God, we pray to the Lord...
That nations may resolve their conflicts by seeking the justice and peace brought to the world by the Lord Jesus, we pray to the Lord...
That the Christian community, made one by our common baptism, may always welcome the unborn, the stranger, and all who are vulnerable, we pray to the Lord…
That each of us may renew the commitment of our own baptism, renouncing sin and promising to serve God faithfully in his holy Church, we pray to the Lord...
That those who are ill may, as sons and daughters of God, offer their sufferings to him with patience and trust, we pray to the Lord...
That those who have died may share the glory of eternal life, we pray to the Lord...
We thank you for making us your children.
Answer the prayers we have offered today
With confidence and trust.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Baptism and Life
“Whoever is moved by love begins to perceive what “life” really is. He begins to perceive the meaning of the word of hope that we encountered in the Baptismal Rite: from faith I await “eternal life” - the true life which, whole and unthreatened, in all its fullness, is simply life. Jesus, who said that he had come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness, in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10), has also explained to us what “life” means: “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we ‘live’” – Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical on Hope, November 30, 2007.
Is 42:1-4, 6-7
Year A: Mt 3:13-17
Year B: Mark 1: 7-11
Year C: Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22
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Today we are presented with the mystery of Christ’s baptism and our own. Jesus is baptized in order to reveal himself as God’s only Son, and to reveal his mission of sharing that sonship with us sinners. The reality of his mission, and our status as baptized Christians, help us understand our commitment to a culture of Life.
To be a Christian is much more than to be a good person. It’s about becoming a new person, sharing a new kind of life – the life of God himself. Christmas, the celebration of which we conclude with today’s Feast, is not just about the birth of a child; it’s about the birth of a whole new humanity. In Adam, all die; in Christ, all come to life again. We are made sharers, by faith and baptism, in the Divine Nature. At every Mass, as he pours a few drops of water into the wine, the priest prays, “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the Divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” That’s what the Christmas season is all about. St. Augustine put it this way: “God became man that man might become God.”
Baptism gives us our identity as "the people of life" (Evangelium Vitae n.79). Baptized into Christ's victory over death, we are also sent to proclaim, celebrate, and serve that victory (see EV 78-101). When we renew the vows of our baptism, we say that we "reject Satan and all his works." Chief among those works is death. Yet the Son of God has destroyed death, and that means that we who follow Him likewise are called to stand against it.
Abortion is a contradiction to baptism. Consider what the Church does in the celebration of baptism. A child is brought into the congregation, and is welcomed by all who are present as a brother, a sister. Despite the fact that all but a few of the gathered Christians do not know this child, and did not know the child's name, they declare before God that they now accept the child as one of them. Baptism expresses God's unconditional welcome of His people, His call to them to share His life. Baptism expresses the hospitality of God's Church, and the responsibility incurred by the fact that God has entrusted us to the care of one another.