I’m back at Cheviot now after the circuit of Sunday Masses. Last night at Hanmer there was a larger-than-usual number of worshippers. For blog readers from other countries, Hanmer Springs is one of New Zealand’s lesser-known tourist spots. Most weeks there are half a dozen locals at Mass, and 40-50 visitors most weeks.
The significant thing about the visitors is that they are away from their homes and parishes for a weekend (or longer) of rest. Yet, they arrange their vacation so that they can participate in the Mass at 5pm on the Saturday.
In my homily at the Mass, (for the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord), I reflected on the Sacrament of Baptism as the moment when life truly begins. At conception, human life begins. This life will last for “seventy years, or eighty for those who are strong.”
At Baptism our eternal life begins. This life will last an eternity.
Therefore, since our Baptism is such a significant event, it is worthy of ongoing celebration. We do this in a real sense every time we take part in the Eucharist, and also any moment when we turn to God in prayer.
We usually make an occasion of an annual celebration of life’s great moments: birthday, wedding anniversary etc).
So I asked if anyone knew the date on which they were Baptised. Only one of the Hanmer group did. I asked the same question this morning at Amberley, at Hawarden and at Waiau. Only one or two people at each place knew their Baptism date.
I understand this since it is only ten years since I made the effort to discover the date of my baptism. Now, every year, I celebrate.
So I offered a challenge to today’s worshippers. Now I share the challenge with you all.
It is easy enough these days to find out when you were Baptised. After one of this weekend’s Masses a parishioner told me of sending a recent email to the parish where she was baptised on the other side of the world. She had a response within a few hours!
So on this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, you might decide to find out the date (and place) of your Baptism. Some will be able to ask parents, and for others the information is just a Google-search (for the Church or parish) and an email request away.
|Otematata Parish Church|
I was baptised here 10 September 1961
(this Church is no longer where it was when I was baptised
or when I took the photo (in the early 1980’s).
I think it might have been shifted. Does anyone know?