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Baptized  but not evangelized? 

Published

WORD ALIVE

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

There was once a woman who brought her child to church for baptism. “What’s the baby’s name?” asked the parish priest. “Toyota,” said the mother. Taken aback the priest said, “Why?” “Kasi po Father,” she replied, “iyong panganay ko ay nagngangalang ‘Ford,’ yong ikalawa naman ay ‘Mercedes’ at yong pinakamaliit ay ‘Beetle.'”

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A ganoon ba? Bueno, ano ang gusto mong ibibinyag ko sa anak mo: diesel o gasolina?”

That amusing story might help to focus our attention on the feast of Christ’s baptism this Sunday and the secularized way parents name their children nowadays.

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When the Lord waded into the River Jordan and was baptized by John, the sacrament of baptism was inaugurated. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus made baptism a mandate, saying, “Go…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28,15).

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It is to the immense credit of Christian parents that they take to heart the baptism of their children.

It seems, however, that many baptized children grow up grossly ignorant of religious instructions and their obligations as Christians.

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For instance, there are Catholics who come to Church three times only in their whole lifetime — when baptized, married, and buried — or, as someone put it, when “hatched, matched, dispatched” (to the cemetery or crematory).

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The theologian Bernard Cooke in his book Christian Sacraments and Christian Personality writes: “Our baptism is not an action which happens once and has no further significance for our life. Rather, all the significance of this sacrament passes dynamically into the daily living of the Christian.”

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In other words, it is not enough for us just to accept baptism passively or as something done to us. There must be a follow-up. Our baptism should become an operative power impelling us to act as Christ did.

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The absence of this “operative power” of baptism engenders a piety that’s split between faith and practice in day-to-day life.

For instance, we pride ourselves as the only Christian country in Asia yet ironically we have a high level of corrupt practices and crimes which involve even law enforcers and political leaders.

We may be baptized Christians but not evangelized.

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Once I was trying to settle a quarrel between two feuding relatives. “Let’s forgive one another,” I appealed, “because Christ told us to forgive.”

The offended party shot back with a reply that almost floored me: “Father, puede ba, huwag natin isali ang Diyos sa usapan na ito!” (Father, please, let’s not include God in this talk!).

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Baptismal faith should grow and mature. If we have a vibrant and mature faith, then our heavenly Father will say to us what He said to His Son Jesus at his baptism in the River Jordan, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. On New Year, a man made a resolution to come straight home after work instead of having a good time till the wee hours in the morning. Elated, the wife said: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son…!”

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But after a month, he slipped back to his old habit. One time as he returned home past midnight, the wife sighed: “Glory be to the Father….AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING…”

LESSON: Persevere in keeping your resolution. Avoid a ningas cogon attitude. Remember the Lord’s remark: “This man began to build but could not finish?”

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. Seminarians are our future priests, missionaries and bishops. We cannot have them if there are no seminarians because all priests and bishops start as seminarians.

So let’s support them.

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Chip in an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for one year. For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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GOD BLESS…the latest donors to our “Adopt-A-Seminarian” scholarship program: ANITA SANTOS, LENI LAZARO THRU: CADIZ FAMILY, MARIE ROSE NAVARRO.

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