Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we began the Advent season last week, we reflected on the purpose of Christ’s great mission, and, by extension, our own responsibility and response to the Gospel. He came to free us from sin and death, to be watchful and alert, to live in such a way that we are welcomed into his heavenly kingdom. We ought to always have in mind our end—are we ready to meet the Lord when He comes, when He calls us?
In this second week of Advent, our attention turns to the beginning of our response to God’s grace. We begin in Baptism. John the Baptist offers a baptism of repentance, while Jesus will perfect that baptism by the power of the Holy Spirit. Most of us are unable to remember the day of our baptism, but on that day, we received life in Christ. In the waters of baptism, we were washed of original sin and welcomed in to the family of God’s people. From that day on, we have carried the light and life of Christ with us, though we are not always aware of it, nor are we always particularly skilled in the carrying.
And so we are invited today to return to the grace of our own baptism. We have been indelibly signed as followers of Christ, given an immeasurable dignity, and called sons and daughters of God. By virtue of our baptism, we have been entrusted with the message of the Gospel and are called to live the Gospel in word and deed. Our dignity as sons and daughters of God allows us to see others as worthy of the same dignity, leading us to have a special concern for the poor, the outcast, the wounded, the forgotten. In baptism, we received the gifts of the Holy Spirit which were later sealed in us by Confirmation. As we reflect on the gift of baptism, let us call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us in all we do, to inspire our hearts with love for the Gospel, and to live in joyful anticipation of the coming of the Lord.