😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you. For multiple reasons, one of my absolute favorite things to witness and experience is a baptism. At Mass Saturday, I had the privilege of witnessing Austin’s baptism. No, I don’t know Austin or her family, but nonetheless, experiencing this moment with them brought me great joy. I also thought it was very fitting that our Gospel reading this weekend was about being called to be followers of Christ.
Luke 5:1-11 “While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, He asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then He sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.”
A couple items I would like to make mention of, that happen at the introduction to a baptism, are:
1) Everyone is given the opportunity to publicly renew their baptismal promises, which I am very thankful for. There is something special about speaking those promises aloud. It seems to bring them alive and make them more real.
2) We, as a community of faith and believers, are asked if we will help bring this child up in the faith we just professed. I responded, “I will.”
I couldn’t tell you how many baptisms I’ve experienced over the years, but this one brought with it a little more meaning and understanding for me. Again, I don’t know Austin or her family, so how can I keep my promise to help Austin grow in her faith? I pondered this off and on for a few days. The answer is, no, I won’t physically guide her in her faith, but by mine and everyone else’s prayers, she will be bathed in prayer and blessings, and surrounded by a community of saints. In the past, the joy of witnessing a baptism was fleeting and honestly, the prayers ended even more quickly. As I was talking with God about the events of this past weekend, He told me to start a Baptismal Prayer List, so I did. I put the date, location, and name of the person on my prayer list and that way I can pray for them and their faith journey for the rest of my life.
Will Austin and everyone else that will eventually be added to this prayer list even know that they are on a prayer list? I doubt it. Will they know that I’m praying for them? I’m guessing no. Will I ever know the outcomes of my prayers for them? Probably not. In some way, will they feel these prayers and experience God’s loving presence because of them? Yes, I believe they will. As followers of Christ, we are called to “…fearlessly make known the mysteries of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20. That is actually a portion of a prayer I pray every morning as I brush my teeth, Ephesians 6:10-20. It’s worth reading and taking it to heart.
I’m going to close out today’s message with Jack Beers’ reflection on last Sunday’s Gospel and his touching story about when a young boy was given the opportunity to meet Mr. Rodgers. Or maybe I should say, when Mr. Rodgers had the opportunity to meet this young boy. The video is only about 6 minutes and well worth the listen.
Bless others and be blessed.
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#JackBeers – Jesus’ Solution to the Curse of Our Age – Feed Your Soul: Gospel Reflections