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BAPTISM: New Life in the Spirit

A.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND DEVELOPMENT

1. Water, the stuff of life bapto means to dye a garment to change its color; the more intensive form baptizo means to cause to perish, as in drowning.

common

ritual cleansings: wash, rinse, or sprinkle. an everyday ritual. conferred only once in ones lifetime [W. OMalley, 1995: 144].

NOT

Water

is a very potent element as well as a powerful symbol.

Thus, water is an equivocal element and symbol on one hand it may bring life, on the other it may cause the termination of life.

2.

Historical development and Christian application

Jewish

Purification. The Jews practiced various ablutions for the sake of purification and the initiation of proselytes.

2.

Historical development and Christian application

John

the Baptist. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:7-8).

Jesus was baptized.


All four Gospels record that Jesus subjected Himself to Johns baptism in the River Jordan.

2.

Historical development and Christian application

The

disciples baptized.

After Jesus ascension, the disciples baptized both with water and the by the laying on of hands (spirit baptism).

2.

Historical development and Christian application

The

Didache (teachings of the apostles, c.70-100) records that one should be instructed, fast, and then be baptized in cold running water, if possible.

Catechumenate
3rd

C: when people wanted to become Christians, they were presented to the leaders by a sponsor. would prepare for baptism on Easter Vigil, (the night before Easter) by making a forty-day retreat previous to the vigil (Later,

they

the entire community would join them for this special period of prayer, and thus the season of Lent was born.) [A. Marinelli, 1999: 190-193].

Initiation practices and separation of sacramental practices (c.100-600).


baptism,

chrismation, and Eucharist merged--preserved in Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches, but the West saw a gradual dissolution of this sequence of initiation after 600 A.D.

Initiation practices and separation of sacramental practices (c.100-600).


unavailability

of the bishop, high infant mortality rate, and a new emphasis on Original Sin. (Augustine (354-430) held that while all of creation is good, mankind inherited a propensity toward evil from the fall of Adam.

Vatican Council II (19621965). The Church rightly refocused our attention on the redemptive acts of Jesus and developed rites for children and adult baptism.

B.

THEOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING

1. What does baptism do? 1.1. It incorporates us into Christ and forms us into God's people. It brings one into the community of faith.

1.2.

Baptism brings one into the death and resurrection of Jesus. (The first two effects of baptism are powerfully connected to each other.)

The

baptisms were usually performed by immersions into the water. Going down into the waters symbolized dying to an old life and coming up, being born again in Christ.

In

the early Church, baptism meant a true choice on the part of the baptized to give up an old way of being and to live in Christ [A. Marinelli, 1999: 190193].

that our old being has been put to death with Christ on his cross, in

order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed, so that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Rom 6:3-4, 6).

1.3.

Baptism imparts an indelible character that of being a child of God. Hence, baptism is one given once.

1.4. Baptism removes (Original) sin. In baptism, a person dies and rises again with Jesus Christ. This sacrament removes the stain of original sin which is understood in two ways: 1) the sin committed by our first parents Adam and Eve (symbolic of human tendency to turn away from God), and 2) the sinful or evil situation in the world where every infant is born into.

2.

Receiving baptism

2.1. Who can receive baptism? Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized (CCC # 1246). 2.2. Who can baptize? deacons and priests 2.3. Is there salvation for those who were not baptized? Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens,
and all those who without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized (LG 16, CCC # 1281).

With

respect to children who have died without baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in Gods mercy and to pray for their salvation (CCC # 1283).

1.

Is baptism relevant to you? Why? Gather your pictures and bring to class next meeting.

2.