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Baptized not evangelized?

 

There was once a woman who brought her child for baptism. “What’s the baby’s name?” asked the parish priest. “Toyota,” said the mother. san luis, fr. belTaken aback the priest said, “Why?” “Kasi po,” she replied, “iyong panganay ko ay nagngangalang ‘Ford,’ yong ikalawa naman ay ‘Mercedes’ at yong pinakamaliit ay ‘Beetle.’” (Because the eldest is named ‘Ford’, the second is ‘Mercedes’ and smallest is ‘Beetle’).

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“A ganoon ba? Bueno, ano ang gusto mong ibibinyag ko sa anak mo: diesel o gasolina?” (Is that so? Okey, what do you want me to use to baptize your child: diesel or gasoline?)

That folksy anecdote might help focus attention on the feast of Christ’s baptism which we commemorate this Sunday and our own baptism.

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When the Lord waded into the River Jordan and was baptized by John, the sacrament of baptism was inaugurated. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus made baptism a mandate, saying, “Go…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:15).

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It is to the immense credit of Christian parents that they take to heart the baptism of their children.

It seems, however, that many baptized children grow up grossly ignorant of religious instructions and their obligations as Christians. In effect, many turn out to be Christians in name only or Christians who come to church three times in their whole lifetime–when baptized, married, buried, or when “hatched, matched, dispatched.”

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The theologian Bernard Cooke in his book Christian Sacraments and Christian Personality writes: “Our baptism is not an action which happens once and has no further significance for our life. Rather, all the significance of this sacrament passes dynamically into the daily living of the Christian.”

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In other words, it is not enough for us just to accept baptism passively or as something done to us. We must also allow it to become an operative power impelling us to act as Christ did.

The absence of this “operative power” of baptism engenders a piety that’s split between faith and practice in day-to-day life.

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For instance, we pride ourselves as the only Christian country in Asia, yet ironically we have a high level of crime and violence which involves even law enforcers. Then graft and corruption continue to thrive.

There are many reasons behind the social maladies but one could be that our Christian faith and morals have not really permeated and influenced the various spheres of our life.

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Once I was trying to settle a quarrel between two feuding relatives. “Let’s forgive one another,” I appealed, “because Christ told us to forgive.”

The lady shot back with a reply that almost floored me: “Father, puede ba, huwag natin isali ang Diyos sa usapan na ito!” (Father, please, let’s not include God in this talk!).

It’s not enough to be baptized. Baptismal faith should grow and mature. For it to be truly authentic, that faith should influence our day-to-day life, conduct, and relationships.

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FAMILY TV MASS — is aired on IBC 13 (15 on cable) at 7 a.m. every Sunday and on international GMA Pinoy TV. STO. NIÑO DE VIOLAGO CHAPEL, E. Rodriguez Ave. Q.C. c/o Oscar Violago & Family. Mass celebrant: Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD.

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  • etneroll

    it seems, however, that many baptized children grow up grossly ignorant of religious instructions and their obligations as Christians. In effect, many turn out to be Christians in name only or Christians who come to church three times in their whole lifetime–when baptized, married, buried, or when “hatched, matched, dispatched.” why is that? because they were baptized without them knowing what baptism was for being babies at that time.