When Patrick John Mahoney was born March 4th, one of the first questions Christine and Kevin were asked was: “What are you calling him?” That’s the question we asked when they brought him to church on Saturday, May 22nd : “What is his name?” “Patrick John”, they said. Then, we asked them why they brought him here. “For Baptism,” they said.
We welcomed him with the Sign of the Cross, the sign Jesus Christ offers to his own. Many of Patrick John’s family, there too, welcomed him.
In our baptismal service, Jesus speaks in four important readings related to this sacrament. Jesus tells Nicodemus, in John’s gospel, you must be born again of water and the Holy Spirit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (John 3:1-6) In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to go out to the whole world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”. (Matthew 28:18-20) The Baptism of Jesus, who goes into the waters of the Jordan River, is recalled in Mark’s gospel. (Mark 1:9-11) Finally, in another reading from Mark, Jesus says “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belong to such as these.” (Mark 10:13-16)
I commented on Mark’s gospel, about the Baptism of Jesus who went into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized.
The day after Kevin and Christine were married August 24, 2019, I went down to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, to see an exhibit called “Deep Time”, about the beginnings of our universe over 4.5 billion years ago. One part of the exhibit, for kids, caught my attention.
“Your body through time. Your body is the result of 3.7 billion years of evolution.” A reminder we don’t just come from mommy and daddy, we come through 3.7 billion years of evolution. We’re related to the world of the past and to what it’s meant to be in the future. Through it all one element is constant– water. There’s no life without it. Where did the waters come from? Like all of creation–God.
When Jesus went into the waters of the Jordan River he identified himself with all life. The Son of God signified his willingness to live in our world as a human and give it– past, present, and future– the promise of eternal life.
We prayed Saturday over the water that was our Jordan, in Christ Our Light church, Cherry Hill, NJ.
Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs which tell us of your unseen power. In baptism we use your gift of water, a rich symbol of your grace.
At the very dawn of creation, your Spirit breathed on the waters making them the wellspring of holiness.
The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism that end sin and bring new goodness.
Through the waters of the Red Sea you led Israel out of slavery to be your holy people.
By the power of your Spirit, give to this fount the power of your Son
We baptized Patrick John with water, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” and the Spirit came upon him. A voice from heaven called him his son in whom he was pleased.
We prayed to Jesus Christ with all the heavenly host and our families’ holy ones:
By the mystery of your death and resurrection, bathe this child of light, give him the new light of baptism and welcome him into your church”
Through baptism and confirmation, make him your faithful follower and a witness to your gospel.
Lead him by a holy life to the joys of God’s kingdom.
Make the lives of his parents and godparents examples of faith to inspire him.