I was gratified to read Fr Thomas Rosica’s commentary on Zenit on this weekend’s gospel, especially his theme I serendipitously dropped on the young miss yesterday:
We, too, are called to a prophetic career.
When we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death. Our baptism is a public, prophetic and royal anointing. We receive the life of the Church and are called to sustain that faith life. Faith is about concern for others. Faith is a public — not private — responsibility.
Baptism is a call to a prophetic career. How we live that out may vary from person to person. The ways may not be as dramatic as the adventures of an Isaiah or a John the Baptist, yet they are in that same great prophetic tradition. To be prophetic is to become involved and to get our hands and feet dirty.
Fr Rosica continues with a lengthy quote from the pope when last year he was asked about the severe/broad-minded dichotomy of pastoral thought on baptizing infants. (You know it, right? Inactive Catholic parents don’t get their kid baptized versus baptizing with the hope that the grace of the sacrament will somehow lasso the family back into the active fold.) It’s worth going to the link to read in detail.
My thinking is that baptism can and should be seen as a sacrament of vocation, joined to orders and matrimony as the primary sacrament of living a committed Christian witness for others. It’s something of an adjustment, especially for cradle Catholics. Often we all see vocations as commencing with a specific commissioning. Baptism? Most of us don’t remember it. How can we embrace it as a vocation?
This is why I think that regular reminders of baptism are so essential for spiritual and sacramental good health. Many parishes utilize the Sprinkling Rite during Easter. I’m not convinced this is enough. Given the need for post-baptismal formation, I might say that one in four or even three Sundays wouldn’t be too much. And obviously, it will need preaching, too.
Forming the next generation is important. That’s why I think the observance of baptismal anniversaries is important. Imagine a child observing a special feast for himself or herself, and not getting presents. (Maybe only a motto like, “Live a life worthy of your calling.”)
Feasts like this Sunday are also important. Our parish has infant baptisms scheduled for the 10:30 Mass. But an encouraging, challenging homily for us all to live our this calling would be welcome.
Above is the baptistry at St John’s Abbey.