Fr. Rusty's Corner

Deep Thoughts from Your Parish Priest

Baptism

 

This past weekend after the 10:30 Mass, I had the joy of doing my seventh Baptism since I arrived at St. Paul and twenty-eighth since I was ordained as a priest.  I keep track with all of them at the encouragement of my uncle, Fr. Patrick Mascarella, so that I can always pray for those I have baptized.  The Sacrament of Baptism is very special, for it is the gateway into the Church and to the other sacraments.  It also makes us new creations in the image of Christ.  Right after the baptism with water, the priest anoints the child with the Sacred Chrism oil as a sign of the indelible mark on the soul as Christ claims the child as His own.  It also anoints us to the mission of Christ as priest, prophet, and king.  Today I would like to reflect on how we live out that mission.

First is our mission as priest.  The priest through baptism is part of what is called the common priesthood.  It should be pointed out here that the common priesthood is different than the ministerial priesthood.  Through my ordination, I am ordained as part of the ministerial priesthood, which calls me to offer the Mass, administer the sacraments, and other things.  My ordination sets me aside within the Body of Christ to be the mediator between the people and God.  One of the principle ways I do this is through the sacrifice of the Mass.  Sacrifice is central to the priesthood.  The common priesthood is meant to offer sacrifices in our daily lives.  The sacrifices are meant to draw us closer in relationship to God.  The sacrifice can come in many forms, like sacrificing time in prayer or service in helping others.  Sacrifice can be giving up things during the day like using our cell phones, not buying things, or fasting between meals.  How do we participate in our common priesthood and offer those daily sacrifices?

Second is our mission as prophet. A prophet is one who speaks the Divine Truth as a message to the people.  In the Old Testament, prophets were common, and they typically were trying to keep Israel faithful to the commandments of the Lord.  They were constantly teaching, correcting, and guiding the people.  Even in exile, the prophets were seeking to lead people back to God.  Through our baptism, our role as prophets is to encounter and accompany people in their faith.  We can live this by simply praying and speaking with our family.  We can live this towards our friends when we say words of encouragement or correction when necessary.  It is even towards the strangers we see at the grocery store or at work.  We are called to teach and proclaim our faith to everyone we see, even if we feel afraid, not prepared, or unable.  Many of the prophets felt the same way, yet God called them into the world to be His messengers.  How are we messengers to the people we encounter in our daily lives?

Third, and finally, is our mission as king.  A king is one who has authority as a leader.  King David is a great example of the role as king to his people.  David was far from a perfect man, but he was devoted to the Lord in every way.  As the author of the Psalms, we see how he plays a role in leading his people through example as a servant to the Lord.  In fact, that is the primary role of a king:  a servant to the God and to the people God has placed in his life.  We all take on this role as a king/queen to the people in our lives.  We have received some kind of responsibility in our lives to take care of others.  It could be a parent who takes care of their children, a spouse who cares for their spouse or aging parent, an employer responsible for employees under them, a teacher who is responsible for the students his or her classroom, or a student who sets the example for the younger generation.  These are all roles in our day-to-day lives in which we are called to be the servant leaders.  Even a person who may have reached an age where they cannot do what they used to be able to do as a servant leader, has as their role to pray for those who now take the reins and share their wisdom with the new leaders.   How do we serve the people in our lives?

Our baptisms anoints us for a powerful and important mission to join Christ as priests, prophets, and kings.  This is not just at church.  This is each day in our lives.  How do we live out our baptism in our daily lives to those we encounter?

- Fr. Rusty Vincent


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