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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

“His love is perfected in us" (1 Jn 4:12) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Know Your Faith Archives

BAPTISM

By Linda Joseph Kavalackal

Baptism means the rite of admission to Christian faith by the use of water.

Matthew 28:19”...baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.

Baptism has been part of Christianity from the start, as shown by the many mentions in Acts and the epistles of Paul. Catholics believe that baptism cleanses one of the taint of original sin. It is a form of rebirth—"by water and the Spirit”

John 3:5: Jesus answered Nicodemus, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit."

St. John Chrysostom calls the baptism “giving birth, new way of creation…from water and spirit".

To Catholics, it’s a sacrament.

Pope Zosimus (417 - 418) approved a teaching of a local council at Carthage which condemned those who denied baptism to newborn infants. Pope Celestine I (422 - 432) taught that both children and infants need the sacrament of regeneration.

According to tradition, evidence of which can be traced back to about the year 200, infant baptism has been a common practice. And Godparents are present at baptism to vow to uphold the Christian life of the baptised child.

Some condemn infant baptism saying an infant cannot make an act of faith – but that is what Godparents and parents do. Parents daily take decisions keeping in mind the wellbeing of a child and this is unavoidable, especially for an infant. If an infant is ill, we take decisions on his behalf and give him medicine – we do not wait until he can receive it consciously.  The decision taken by the parents is later reinforced by the individual when he or she reaffirms his baptismal vows, receives confirmation, Holy Communion etc.  The elders are making an act of faith on behalf of the child. There are several instances where Jesus accepted the faith of one to heal another dear one. The healing of the centurion’s servant and healing the paralytic man who was let down through the roof are examples.

Archbishop James C. Gibbons, in his book The Faith of our Fathers, said: The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul, although containing only a fragmentary account of the ministry of the Apostles plainly insinuate that the Apostles baptised children as well as grown persons. We are told, for instance, that Lydia “was baptised, and her household,” by St. Paul; and that the jailer “was baptised, and all his family.” The same Apostle baptised also “the household of Stephanas”

Indeed, there are evidences of ‘whole’ households, families being baptised.

Acts 2:38-39: Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

Acts 11:13-14: He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.”

Acts 16:15: When she (Lydia from the city of Thyatira) and her household were baptised...”

Acts 16:30-33: Then he (the jailer) brought them (Paul and Silas) out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household”. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptised without delay.

Acts 18:8: Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers, and were baptised.

1 Cor 1:16: Paul said, “I did baptise also the household of Stephanas.”

Its not common sense to believe that all the families referred to above had only adult members.

To Colossians, Paul paralleled baptism and circumcision, which was normally administered to children eight days after birth. Col 2:11-12: “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”

To Corinthians, Paul recalled that just as all the Jews of the Exodus (including children) were baptised into Moses by passing through the Red Sea, they were actually being blessed by Christ.1 Cor 10:1-4: “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ.”

In Mark's Gospel, we have Jesus' own teaching on children.

Mk 10:13-16: And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ ... Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Our Lord would never want children to be kept away until they came of age to accept Him.

More reference:

Jn 3:5: Jesus answered (Nicodemus), "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit."

Mt 28:19: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Mt 3:11: I am baptising you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptise you with the holy Spirit and fire.

Gal 3:25-27: But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian. For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

1 Cor 12:12-13: As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on January 20, 2018. Services to be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. All are welcome. Music by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

Kannada Convention 2018

Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our annual Kannada convention in May, 2018 The convention will be blessed by the vibrant preaching of many anointed servants of God. Please come.

Date: May 6 - May 11, 2018

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2018

Hindi Convention Ojas 2018

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our eighth Hindi convention, in 2018. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

National Bible Convention in Potta

Answer God's call and experience His burning love for you. A five-day convention to be led by Fr. Fr Mathew Naikomparampil, Fr George Panackal, Fr Mathew Elavumkal, Fr Xavier Khan Vattayil, Fr Dominic Valamanal and other stalwarts in Charismatic ministry. Please spread the word.

Dates: February 7 - 11, 2018

Divine Retreat Schedules

ENGLISH RETREATS

English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.

MALAYALAM RETREATS

Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Mathew Elavumkal, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.

OTHER LANGUAGES

Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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