Our New Life in Christ

During the April 7 Easter Vigil, Cardinal Wuerl welcomed 25 people into full communion with the Catholic Church.

With great solemnity, the Church celebrates baptism and Easter, and along with the Easter Candle, the baptismal font and its water are the central symbols of the Easter season.  On Easter Sunday and each Sunday of the Easter season (the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost), the priest will bless water with these words, “Bless this water which will be sprinkled on us as a memorial of our baptism.  May he help us by his grace to remain faithful to the Spirit we have received.”  The priest will then move through the church, sprinkling the congregation.

Each week we remember again that “…we have been cleansed with water by the power of the living Word, and made sharers in God’s own life and his adopted children” (The Rite of Baptism for Children).  Baptism is both a rising with Christ and a new birth.  Baptism changes us forever.

Saint Augustine introduced the word “character” into Christian theology when speaking about the uniqueness of baptism, which along with confirmation marks us in a distinctive way.  St. John in his vision of heaven sees an angel with “the seal of the living God” (Revelation 7:2), which was to be used in marking the servants of God on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3).  It is Christ who spiritually marks out his own.  We have been claimed for Christ and this is our permanent vocation.  Baptism not only marks us as members of God’s household and children of a new creation; it is also the basis for our own obligations to each other as members of the Church, and the starting point for our efforts to restore Christ’s Church in that unity rooted in one baptism, one faith, and one Lord.

The Easter season invites us to consider how we can live out our baptismal vocation with renewed energy and vigor.  Can the additional practices we added to our prayer life during Lent become a regular part of our daily prayer?  How can we as individuals better fulfill our obligations as members of the Church?  Is this the right time to get involved in an activity or ministry at the parish? Is there someone with whom we have wanted to share our faith or invite to Mass, and is now the time to do that when our Scriptures are filled with the excitement of the disciples of the Lord sharing the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, when our churches are so beautifully decorated and our music so glorious?

Consider how you can bring the “new life” we celebrate at Mass to your world.  Perhaps there’s a part of your life that could be transformed by a renewed sense of hope and confidence that change is possible.