A few years ago I was leading a session for children who were preparing to receive Eucharist for the first time. I asked the group “When did your life begin?”
Several of the children responded together: “When I was born.”
“Good answer “I replied, “but I am looking for an even better answer”.
A couple of the children suggested that their live began when they were little inside their mothers. I told them that that was an even better answer, but still I was looking for another even more correct response.
The children really had their thinking faces on at that point and one boy timidly put up his hand. When I asked for his response to the “when did your life begin” question he responded “when I was baptised.”
That was what I was looking for.
Baptism is the moment when life truly begins.
At conception, human life begins. This earthly human existence will last for “seventy years, or eighty for those who are strong” according to Psalm 90.
At Baptism our eternal life begins. This life will last an eternity. Where we will live eternally is decided by our acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, since our baptism is such a significant event it is worthy of an annual celebration. We do this in a real sense every time we participate in the Eucharist and also in any moment when we turn to God in prayer.
I then asked the children if any of them knew the date on which they were baptised and as I expected none of them did.
I understand this since it is only ten years since I made the effort to discover the date of my own baptism. Now, every year I celebrate the anniversary.
When I learned the date of my baptism I then asked some of those who were there to tell me something about the day. I know that I was baptised on the way home from the Otematata maternity home, and that there were only half a dozen people present, my parents, one grandmother, my godparents and Fr. Reg O’Brien.
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.
I was baptised here 10 September 1961
This church is no longer on the same site as it was originally
(or when I took the pic in the early 1980s)
I think it may have been shifted. Does anyone know?