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 Baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, Slaves or Free persons, and we were given to drink of one Spirit
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the
gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other Sacraments.
Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as Sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the Sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word."
Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift. We call it by many names: A Gift, A grace, An Anointing, Enlightenment, Clothing, A bath of Rebirth, and A Seal.
- it is called a Gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own.
- it is called a Grace since it is given even to the guilty.
- It is called a baptism because sin is buried in the water.
- It is called an Anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed.
- It is called Enlightenment because it radiates light.
- It is called Clothing since it veils our shame.
-It is called a Bath because it washes
- And it is called a Seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship.
The reading today describes the Body as having many parts. As we look at our Christian Community it is easy to identify the diversity within our community.
I have two older brothers (Kevin and Tim) who are currently on a mission trip in Kenya, Africa. They are experiencing a significant diversity within our larger Christian Body. As they visit the orphanages, the clinic treating those afflicted with the AIDS virus, visiting the workers in the coffee fields, or just spending time talking with the adults and children working as goat herders in the countryside, they are experiencing and embracing the diversity of the Body of Christ.
As my brothers recently and so profoundly described their experience, stating; "By the grace of God, my eyes have been opened to the vast greatness of God and how we are united to so many different people whom appear so different, but at the same time have such similarities, especially in regards to The Spirit."
Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: "Therefore, we are members one of another." Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the Baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: "For by one Spirit we were all Baptized into one Body."
From the time of the Apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished through a journey, and initiated in several stages. It all begins with Baptism.
With today's reading in mind, Think about your life and your Baptism!
Think about how you personally relate to the Body of Christ.
I challenge you to open your eyes to the greater community that surrounds you, to the vast and far reaching Body of Christ, all of whom are drinking of one Spirit.
Ask yourself, "Am I personally fulfilling my part as a member of the Body of Christ?"