Exemplifying the sacrament of Baptism is the great preacher and prophet John the Baptist, an obvious choice. Through his preaching and teaching, John challenged the crowds to turn away from sin and be baptized as a symbol of repentance. Most importantly, John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him as a dove, strengthening Jesus for his public ministry. The Holy Spirit comes to us at our Baptism and again at Confirmation when we are empowered to be witnesses to the faith of the Church.
JOHN THE BAPTIST (first century)
Feast days: June 24 (Birth) and August 28 (Martyrdom)
Patron saint of Baptism and converts
Read more: Luke 7:18-35
God chose John for an important mission. This evangelist led others to Jesus, the Messiah. He is known as the forerunner of Jesus. His words were powerful and life-changing. John challenged everyone to repent and make up for sinful behavior. His message included sharing what you have, being fair with one another, and reaching out to the poor and vulnerable. After challenging King Herod Antipas to live a moral lifestyle, the king got angry at John and put him in prison. He was eventually put to death.
- What do you think God is calling you to do with your life?
- Discuss ways you can lead people to Jesus.
- Read about the life of John the Baptist in the New Testament (Matthew 3:1-17; Mark 6:17-29; Luke 1:57, 66).
- Look for ways you can help people in your community and reach out to those in need.
The Sacrament of Baptism
The Church invites everyone, infants through adults, to be baptized. Baptism, a Sacrament of Initiation, is the first sacrament we receive. We become adopted children of God and are welcomed into the Church. The cleansing waters of Baptism give new life in Christ. Baptism washes away original sin and personal sin. We are given the grace to grow in faith and holiness.
The anointing with holy oil signifies the Holy Spirit and enables us to share in the mission of the Church. The sacrament of Baptism can be received only once, for it leaves an indelible spiritual mark on the soul. It is an occasion of great joy and celebration for families and the Church.
- Research the symbols used during the rite of Baptism: water, holy oil, white garment, candle.
- Think about your baptismal call each time you make the Sign of the Cross with holy water.
- Look at pictures or videos with your family and share memories about your Baptism.
- What can a young person do to show membership in the Church?
In addition to celebrating your birthday, celebrate your Baptism and entry into the Church! Commemorate the day with a special meal or dessert. Honor St. John the Baptist on one or both of his feast days, June 24 and August 29. Ask for his intercession to help you grow in faith and for the courage to defend the teachings of the Church.
BARBARA YOFFIE, MRE, is a director of religious education and saint enthusiast. She is the author of the Saints and Me! series from Liguori Publications.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, September 2019.
PHOTO: PUBLIC DOMAIN, JORISVO/ISTOCK