Sacrament of Baptism
There are three places in Sacred Scripture whereby Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of baptism. The first is when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). The second is found in the Gospel of John 3:1-6, when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and affirmed the necessity of baptism for salvation. The third is found in the Gospel of Matthew 28:19, when Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The importance of the sacrament of baptism lies in its five effects: First, it removes all sins – original and personal. Second, baptized persons receive a sacramental character which configures them to Christ as priest, prophet and king. This sacramental character makes baptized persons a new creation, and distinguishes them from the unbaptized. Third, baptized persons receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which enables them to enter into a personal relationship with God. Fourth, baptized persons become adopted children of the Father in heaven. Fifth, baptized persons become members of the Church and enter into communion with other Christians.
These five effects of baptism expresses God’s great love for us: How great a love that God would lower Himself and enter into human history to become man; how great a love that the God made man would mingle among sinners to be baptized with them; how great a love that through His Passion, Death and Resurrection, He would provide for us an inexhaustible source of salvation. However, baptism should not be viewed as a ticket to automatic salvation. Baptism involves both a gift and a response; it involves the giving of ourselves in response to the gifts we have received.
Each and every one of us who have been baptized is called to participate in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet and king. As priest, we are called to participate in Holy Mass and to offer ourselves as sacrifices pleasing to God by living a life of faith, hope and charity. As prophet, we are called to bear witness to the Gospel by word and example, and to help each other in our journey in life. Finally, as king, we are called to build up the Kingdom of God in this world.
The Catholic Church celebrates the optional memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus on January 3rd. Since the Holy Name of Jesus is the patronal name of our church, we will celebrate this feast day on January 19, 2020 in lieu of the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time.
January 25, 2020 is Chinese New Year. We will celebrate the Holy Mass for Chinese New Year on January 26, in lieu of the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. After Mass, the Chinese New Year celebration continues with community lunch (details to follow).
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