[JMJ 97 - Le Cyberjournal]

Baptized Into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus-Christ

What is baptism? Not just membership in a church but dying to a mortal world and the start of divine life in the Holy Spirit.

THE sacrament of baptism is the beginning of the greatest gift the world has ever received: the gift of eternal life. Being baptized isn't a prize, something that comes at the end of a great performance or after winning a competition. It's another beginning, a birth into a new life that will have no end.

Death and resurrection

"How can this be?" Nicodemus asks Jesus in the gospel of John. By the action of the Holy Spirit who takes our mortal life - 1 month, 1 year, 20, 40 or 90 years of age - and pours it into the life of Jesus-Christ. Thus we not only become true children of God, we even start a new life that will have no end because the Passion of Jesus-Christ becomes a part of our own personal history. We die and are reborn in the life into which the Holy Spirit pours us at our baptism.

The world unified

Furthermore, baptism is stronger and deeper than just religion. It's a sacrament that transcends all churches because once given, one is a child of the one true God no matter what church one grows up in. A person can change religions in life - a Catholic become a Russian Orthodox, a Lutheran become an Anglican - but one is never baptized twice; the sacrament remains forever. Even if a person is excommunicated, that person is still a Christian, still baptized, still a child of God! Baptism is the one sacrament that unites all people of all nations into the unique family of God from which nothing can ever exclude us.

Paul-Dominique Masiclat