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In baptism we are joined to Christ

January 9, 2015
Jean Denton

At age 16, Carlos had a hard time articulating what he felt inside. He was trying to explain what inspired him to become the lead teacher of the fifth-grade class in his parish’s Christian formation program.

Shortly after he was confirmed last spring, Carlos said, he volunteered to help teach vacation Bible school to the young children at his church. The experience made him desire more of the same.

“I feel like I was put in this ministry because of something I have,” he explained, earnestly pointing to his heart and looking for the right words. “It’s something I have – wanting to teach, wanting people to know what I know. It’s kind of being a leader.”

He grinned sheepishly as he gave up the attempt to say what he meant. His friends teased him playfully. “Yes, the leader of the flock,” one laughed. But it was obvious they admired and listened to him. Clearly, they believed Carlos’ “something I have” was a gift in their community.

Indeed, the Christian formation director of his parish affirmed that Carlos was a conscientious, diligent teacher and that the children in his class looked up to him.

In the words Carlos couldn’t find, he “was called.” He sensed a fire in his spirit insisting that he share with others something he cared deeply about: his faith and love of God.

It was amazing to hear a person his age say that he wanted to explain his Catholic faith to others not to show that it was right, but so others could “know what I know” and realize God’s goodness.

This weekend’s Gospel tells about Jesus’ baptism. When Jesus emerged from the baptismal waters, the Spirit descended on him and his life took on new meaning. That life of love would have the power to save us all.

Our Catholic faith teaches that in our own baptism we are joined to Christ, dying to earthly life and emerging with him, resurrected to new life, to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

As it happened with Carlos after his confirmation, this new life excites us and calls us to share what we know: the incredible love of God.

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