Today, as we remember the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth,
we’re reminded of our
Whether we were baptized just a couple of years ago
back when we were babies,
our baptism means something to us,
meaning has changed and deepened over
When I was baptized on
March 19, 1944,
my parents thought they were keeping me out of hell;
believed that the water poured over me,
along with those perfectly
articulated Latin words—
Ego te baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii, et
would keep God from sending me to limbo,
or would allow me into purgatory,
the temporary home where my
sins could be burned off. .
Then came the Second Vatican Council, with Lumen
the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church,
where we learned that
baptism does something far greater
than save us from eternal damnation:
marks us as the Body of Christ, part of the People of God,
sharing the role
of Christ as priest, prophet, and king,
and calling us to live our lives in
mission to the world.
Because of Vatican II, we have come to
that our sacramental rituals, including baptism,
do not make
They celebrate something that has already happened.
are born to the people of God, called from all eternity.
celebrates that call in the midst of
But baptism doesn’t
necessarily make us Christians.
For that to happen, we have to commit
and take action on our commitment.
We who are cradle Catholics
with a minimal meaning to our baptism.
Our parents and
godparents spoke for us
and we became members of the church.
We had to
grow in understanding
and make the commitment as adults
to live the Way of
Jesus of Nazareth
and drink of the living water
and share the bread of
loving our neighbors.
We had to grow in wisdom and age and grace
to answer God’s call to holiness
for our baptism to take on the increasingly
it now has for
That’s what happened
to Jesus in the Jordan.
His parents presented him in the temple
was eight days old;
he was circumcised, marking him as Jewish.
He grew in
wisdom and age and grace.
He spent time with the scriptures and in
He was a faithful Jew.
He understood his relationship to
and his commitment to a life radically dedicated to service,
be for others.
He steps forward to be baptized by John—
one short step
into the river, a life of total dedication.
Last summer we drew
worldwide attention here in Toledo—
not because we placed a strong
in the Compassionate Community games,
not because we’re the home of
and its leading edge work on natural energy,
not because our
acquired Giordano’s Liberation of St. Peter.
No: we drew
worldwide attention because our water was
We’re not the only
people with water problems.
According to the National Geographic,
Jesus were to plunge into the Jordan River today,
he might well injure
The great biblical waterway
is now little more than a shallow,
unimposing trickle of sludge,
a murky body of water
that is in danger of
withering into nothingness.”
Drought is everywhere; the whole word is
suffering a water crisis:
southern California; Queensland, Australia;
the Sindh province of Pakistan; large regions in
Pressured by starvation and living in squalor,
people are rising up
to kill each other
over water and land and food and space to live.
water—like the other resources of our planet—is finite,
but we in the
continue to overuse it and waste it,
doing harm first and
most of all
to those who are poor and who live in developing
Our overconsumption, our waste, is killing people around the
We who are followers of
the Way of Jesus of Nazareth,
we who are called to roles of priest, prophet,
by virtue of our baptism,
believe we are responsible
neighbors in Pakistan and Guatemala…
and here in northwest Ohio.
the degradation of our planet as a profound moral issue,
right-to-life issue of our time.
Some people say it’s too big a
there’s nothing one person can do.
Good thing Jesus didn’t say
So we follow his example: we are taking action.
As a community we’re
getting organized to plant tree seedlings—
lots of them, 282,313—over the
next five years.
We’re speaking out against developments
that will harm
the health of the Maumee Valley watershed,
like building a parking garage
along the river
or tearing out acres of 80-year-old trees
to expand a
We support TUSA’s proposed lead paint abatement
And in our homes we work to simplify our lifestyle
so that we
no longer use
more than our share of the world’s resources.
our habits, and it’s not easy.
But it’s the right thing to do.
it’s living our baptismal commitment.
It’s walking the Way of Jesus.
loving our neighbor.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle,