Saturday, February 7, 2015

Do you know your baptism date?

One of the great gifts that my mother did for all of us children is she took pictures of us growing up and of all of the events of our lives. And that was back in the day where you couldn't just flip like a thousand pictures with your camera. You know, each picture she took was very expensive. Those were the old pictures that were the squares ones.

So it's been kind of my mission for the last six months to try to go through all of my family albums and scan all of the pictures in. It's been a pretty awesome adventure; however, kind of tedious, because first I discovered she had about 30 albums. So I went through all of the 30 albums, and I thought I got all of my pictures scanned, and then I realized there were about 40 boxes of photos that had not been scanned in yet. So the last couple of weekends, on Sundays, I've been going through those and scanning them in, and I'm really excited about this. I mean, I just think it's so cool to go back and see these pictures of childhood. And my siblings are not nearly as excited as I am, and I think that they should be.

So one of the things that I came across over last Sunday was baptism pictures. So I went beyond even when I was born. So I was born in '79, and the first child, Julie, was born in '74. So we are getting into those '70s pictures, right? So my dad had, like, the lambchop sideburns, and you've got the '70s velvet suits and the bellbottoms and everything like that. I think these are pretty cool.

So I've got pictures of all of the baptisms of my siblings, and I was pretty excited about this. And so I e-mailed my siblings each of their baptismal pictures. And probably over the last year or two I've been getting into celebrating all of our baptismanniversaries. So every year, on the date of the baptism anniversary, my siblings will get a text from me, "Happy baptismanniversary." And I'm really excited to send it, and they're like, "Thanks." You know, they're like, they're not nearly as excited as I am.

But it's true that baptism is the most important day of our lives. It is the most important day that we could celebrate, because on the day of our baptism, we became a new identity. On the day of our baptism, we became Christ for the world. And so it doesn't seem very important. Even as we look back on the pictures, you know, I was asking my mom and dad who the priest was or who the other people were in the picture, you know, about the Godparents, and they're like, "Who was that priest? We don't remember who he is." So it makes me really humbled that nobody is really going to remember me.

But they're significant. You know, they're important, because at that moment when the water was poured over us in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we became Christ. And at that moment, just like Jesus' baptism, when Jesus was baptized, the heavens were torn open and the Holy Spirit came down upon him like a dove, and he heard the Father's voice say to him, "You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased."

When we were baptized we became Christ. And from that moment on, God the Father looks at us and he says to us, "You are my beloved son or daughter, and with you I am well pleased." From that moment on, the Father looks at you like his beloved son or daughter. You are Christ. And from that moment on, you became Christ for the entire world.

So Jesus was baptized around his 30th year. From the time that he was born, so we are celebrating this Christmas season, we know a lot about that, but until he was 30 years old we don't really know anything until his baptism. And from this moment on, his baptism on is when he went on to truly do these great works. He went on to perform healings and to perform miracles and to raise the dead, to cast out demons. It was from his moment of baptism that he truly took on the fullness of his identity. And then he gives us this great promise for all of us that are baptized.

For those of you that are baptized, he promises that you will not only do the things that he did, but you will do even greater things. That's the specialness of the identity of our baptism; that when we are Christ in the world today and we truly live our baptismal call, we will not only do the things that he did, but even greater things. That means that God wants you and desires you to be a saint in the world today. He desires you to be Christ in the world today; that you will not only heal the sick and raise the dead and cast out demons, you are going to do even greater things. But so often we don't because we don't realize who we really are. We don't realize what happened on the date of our baptism. We don't realize that that really was the most important day of our lives. You are Christ, and you can do not only the things that he did, but even greater things. And that very special moment where you received that identity was on the day of your baptism.

And so just as I've been nagging my brothers and sisters over the last year, I want you to think about that. Do you know your baptismal date, and do you celebrate it because it's the most important day of your life? If you don't know the day of yourbaptism, you have homework. You all have homework this week, to find out what day you were baptized.

So go into your record at home if you have them, see if you have your baptismal certificate. And if you don't, I'll give you a little information, maybe you didn't know this, but your records are kept at your baptismal parish. So whatever parish you werebaptized. If you were baptized here at St. Joe's your records are all here. If you were baptized somewhere else, all of your records stay there at your baptismal parish. So that means when you got your first confession or your first communion or confirmation or when you were married or when I became a priest, all of those records go to your baptismal record. So all of mine are at Holy Family in Parma. All of yours are wherever you were baptized.

I think that's just a wonderful thing to know, the date of your baptism, and to celebrate it every year as the most important day of your life.

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