In today’s gospel Jesus was baptised in the Jordan and the priest preached on the gift of baptism and asked us to consider our own baptism.
Because most of us were baptised as little babies it’s often not something that we can either remember or appreciate the significance of!
Yet because most of us fell away from God and the church as we grew up, one thing is very obvious: baptism is not a one off “fix it all” experience.
In fact often you can meet people who have been baptised as kids and they are total and utter atheists and show absolutely no sign of anything holy or spiritual.
This could easily lead us to the conclusion that being baptised is just a mere formality and nothing more than a superstitious belief that is void of any tangible effects!
Is this true?
Well of course not but because baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the Christian life it’s going to be rendered pretty much void if we are subsequently raised in a non Christian or non prayerful environment.
Baptism is a bit like someone giving you a guitar for Christmas, for it to be fruitful you then need lessons and practice.
Another myth maybe about baptism for at least some catholic parents is that somehow it will protect one’s children from being gay or transgender!
Is this true? Certainly not but there are some that believe in such things and thus make the Christian life very difficult for baptised gay people such as myself.
No matter how good or prayerful we may be, to them we are not true Christians and are sodmomites following our passions….
This type of attitude from some religious people is further evidence that one can be a practising baptised Christian and yet still be very judgemental and lacking in love.
That said, we must not only point to other people’s faults because which one of us baptised Catholics could claim that we are perfect and without our blind spots? Certainly not me!
So what then is the answer?
Practice! Practice makes perfect and the more we practise the Christian life, the more we pray and educate ourselves and read good spiritual reading and seek out sound advice, the more we will learn what it’s all about and truly be full of love for all whom we meet regardless of who or what they are!
Fortunately through the church Jesus has given us lots of other sacraments and tools to help us and combined with personal prayer and reflection these form the well travelled highway to heaven taken by many a saint before us.
And even if the guitar of our baptism has been cast aside in the rubbish dump of our lives for the last 20 years, the good news is that Jesus will never take it back and if ever you decide to pick it up and start learning the music of heaven again, Jesus and the church will be there to help you!
So whatever your situation today’s message is simple! Keep on practicing, keep on learning and let our lives be the music of heaven.