Chapter 13: The Sacrament of Baptism

Chapter 13: The Sacrament of Baptism

Chapter 13: The Sacrament of Baptism

Definition of the Sacraments

  • The word “sacrament” (mysterion in Greek) refers to a mystery, but not in the sense of something we don’t know. 
  • It is a mystery in the sense that it has two dimensions: one visible and one invisible.
  • The visible dimension is created; the invisible dimension is God’s divine life (which we call God’s grace).
  • The visible dimension is an instrument for the invisible dimension; the invisible dimension is communicated through the visible dimension.
  • Behind the visible celebration of all sacraments, Christ communicates the divine grace of redemption.

The Incarnation of God the Son Makes the Sacraments Possible

  • In his infinite love and wisdom, God wanted to save the human race from sin and death, ever since the the beginning.
  • The Father sent the Son, who was conceived in the Virgin Mary’s womb, and used his human nature as an instrument of salvation.
  • Because God chose that way to redeem us, the Church is obligated to use the same method: the Church must use human created elements to confer God’s grace of redemption.
  • The Incarnation calls the sacraments into existence. As St. Leo the Great explained, “what was visible in our Savior has passed over into his mysteries [sacraments]” (Sermones, 74, 2).

The Sacraments Never Fail to Communicate God’s Grace

  • Because the Incarnation is irrevocable, the sacraments will always guarantee the communication of God’s grace (ex opere operato).
  • The sacraments always grant Christ’s grace of redemption because of his sovereign and gratuitous intervention.
  • They confer the grace that is signified by the celebration, just as Christ intends.
  • Communicating the grace of the Incarnation is not compromised by the unworthiness of the celebrant: just as the light can still penetrate a dirty window, so also the grace of God can be transmitted through a sinful minister.   

Baptism Cannot be Repeated

  • Once the Sacrament of Baptism is performed (whether in the Church or in an emergency), it is valid and cannot be repeated as long as it is performed with water and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
  • Baptism bestows on each of us an indelible seal that lasts forever. Not even sin can ever erase this seal upon us.
  • This does not mean that the baptized person is guaranteed salvation, because one must act on the grace of Baptism until the end of one’s life.
  • Thus, Baptism marks us with the seal of the divine life that can never be erased; but in turn, we must respond to it because it would have no bearing without our actions. As the Catechism teaches, “No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation” (CCC, 1272).

Jesus Did Not Need to be Baptized

  • Jesus did not need to be baptized, as John the Baptist confirms. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed him” (Mt 3:13-15).
  • The purpose behind Jesus’ baptism is to establish the Sacrament of Baptism.
  • Jesus did not subjectively sin, but God put all the sin of humanity on his shoulders in order to destroy sin: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
  • Essentially, Jesus Christ takes on himself the sin and death of humankind and destroys it in his baptism, his death, and his resurrection: “Looking at the events in light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people realized what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon his shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan” (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, 18).
  • In the Old Testament, when Jonah eluded God’s mission for him to preach the Word to the Ninevites, he made his escape from God’s face on a sailing boat. God allowed a storm to endanger the lives on that ship and Jonah realized that the storm was because of him. To redeem the lives of his companions, he said, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea” (Jon 1:12a).
  • This foretold Christ’s throwing himself into the sea to be baptized by John in order to redeem humankind. [Anything about the parallel between Jonah’s three days “in the belly of the whale” and Jesus’ three days in the tomb?]
  • Of course, the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus represent the fulfillment of that redemption. For this reason, Jesus calls his death “baptism” when he says: “But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!” (Lk 12:50).

Baptism is the Door by Which We Enter the Catholic Church

  • Baptism is the first step of the Christian life “and the door which gives access to the other sacraments” (CCC, 1213).
  • Baptism opens the door to a full communion with the Blessed Trinity and to the reception of all the other sacraments.
  • Baptism is like an entrance ticket to the Catholic Church, the beginning and the germ of the Kingdom of God.
  • Baptism gives the baptized a share in the common priesthood to all believers.
  • Through Baptism, the child officially becomes part of the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.
  • Baptism makes the child a member of the community of saints.
  • Jesus Christ established a community with one faith, and one Baptism–that is, one Body of Christ.
  • Baptism creates among the Church’s members the responsibility to interact, to help, and to love the newborn.
  • Part of the Church community is introduced into the Body of Christ here on earth through Baptism.
  • Another part of the Church community is introduced into the eternal Body of Christ in heaven through the Baptism of death.
  • Baptism is the beginning of the child’s journey of faith within the earthly Church, with the goal of becoming part of the heavenly Church.

Baptism Erases Original Sin

  • Baptism works at the ontological level, the level of our very being. [maybe explain “ontological”?]
  • Baptism erases Original Sin, which was committed by our first parents and transmitted to us.
  • We can never comprehend how Original Sin was transmitted from our first parents to all of humankind: It is like pouring mud into the spring of water, causing the entire river to be muddy.
  • Original Sin is not a committed sin, but a contracted sin (see CCC, 404).  
  • Original Sin is not an actual sin; it was committed only by our first parents.
  • A newborn child has not personally sinned because it cannot yet exercise its  free will to disobey God.

Baptism Erases Original Sin but not Concupiscence

  • Baptism erases Original Sin once and for all: “By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God” (CCC, 1263).
  • One might ask, “if baptism erases Original Sin, why do people still sin?”
  • Baptism erases Original Sin, but that does not mean that it erases the consequences of Original Sin
  • The consequences of Original Sin are called concupiscence.
  • Concupiscence is the tendency to sin, but it does not become sin unless one acts on it.
  • Since concupiscence is still in us and we sin when we act on it, Christ gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • Reformation theology (ie, Protestant theology) teaches that concupiscence is already a sin.
  • The Catholic Church believes that concupiscence is not yet a sin. It becomes a sin only when we accept it and act on it.
  • In our spiritual journey, we are called to control and fight all forms of concupiscence. This is a lifelong battle that will end only with our death: “Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, ‘the tinder for sin’ (fomes peccati); since concupiscence ‘is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.’ Indeed, ‘an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules'” (CCC, 1264; Council of Trent, 1456: DS 1515).

Baptism Is a Personal Sharing in the Death and Resurrection of Christ

  • Baptism is a personal sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4).
  • The death and resurrection of Christ destroyed death and sin, thus redeeming humanity.
  • The redemption of all of humankind is personally applied to us in our baptism: Baptism is a personal sacramental sharing in Easter.

Symbolism of the Three Immersions During Baptism 

  • In the Bible, water is the symbol of either destruction (the flood survived by Noah) or life (the Israelites’ passing through water from the land of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.
  • The three immersions in the water represent the Blessed Trinity.
  • Being under water symbolizes the death of Christ; being brought out of the water symbolizes Christ’s resurrection: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).
  • Being under water symbolizes the death of sin; being brought out of the water represents the new life the baptized receives: “Immersion in the water is about purification, about liberation from the filth of the past that burdens and distorts life–it is about beginning again, and that means it is about death and resurrection, about starting life over again anew” (Jesus of Nazareth, 16).
  • Note: In the early Church, baptism was performed by immersing children three times in the water or by pouring it three times over their heads (See CCC, 1239).

Natural Grace and Supernatural Grace

  • On the level of creation, God gives us the spark of life at the very moment of our conception in the womb: Natural Grace. 
  • On the level of salvation, God gives us the spark of the Divine Life through baptism: Supernatural Grace.
  • Our physical life always parallels our spiritual life: they complete each other, and they both originate in the One True God.
  • At our creation we receive God’s natural grace; in Baptism we receive Christ’s supernatural grace and become immersed in the life of the Blessed Trinity.
  • Baptism is a new birth, a new creation.
  • Baptism sets the tone for God’s entire plan of salvation: “Jesus’ baptism, then, is understood as a repetition of the whole of history, which both recapitulates the past [death] and anticipates the future [resurrection]” (Jesus of Nazareth, 20).

Baptism Makes Us Children of God

  • Jesus Christ revealed to us that God is a Father, “Our Father.”
  • In the Old Testament, prophets, angels, kings, and the people of Israel collectively, were called “the sons of God.”
  • However, Jesus Christ called God his Father in a different way than we do. After his resurrection Jesus, instructed Mary Magdalene, “go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father” (Jn 20:17).
  • Jesus called the Father “Abba,” a word that is used between a child and his father in the Jewish culture (Mk 14:36).
  • Bu using the word “Abba” in speaking of God, Jesus placed himself on the same level with the Father (Jn 1, 8, 10). [Not sure where you mean–Mk 14:36, in the Garden of Gethsemane, is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus calls the Father “Abba”–and Paul does in Romans and Galatians.]
  • That alone was the most scandalous expression the Jews heard from Jesus. That was the reason they wanted to kill him: nobody among the Jews would ever dare to call the transcendental God “Abba.” [I don’t think the Jews heard Jesus call the Father “Abba,” but they were scandalized by Jesus’ speaking of God as his Father: “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).]
  • Jesus’ sonship is ontological; ours is by adoption through baptism.
  • When one receives the Sacrament of Baptism, one becomes the child of God in Jesus Christ.
  • And it is only because Jesus is The Son that we are able to be called “sons and daughters” of the Father in Baptism.

Baptism and the Holy Spirit

  • The eternal relationship of love between the Father and the Son is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity: The Holy Spirit.
  • If the Father and the Son relate to each other through the Holy Spirit, the Person of the Holy Spirit becomes God in relationship to Himself.
  • God does not change when entering our human history: The Holy Spirit is God in relation to our world.
  • Every time that God enters in contact with the world, He does so through the Holy Spirit.
  • Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the agent through whom God created the world (Gen 1:1).
  • The Holy Spirit is the agent who performs the action in each of the sacraments.
  • The same Holy Spirit who hovered over the waters at the moment of creation, now descends on the water of baptism, the new creation (see CCC, 1224).
  • The Holy Spirit makes us children of the Father in Jesus the Son: “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Gal 4:6)
  • The descent of the Holy Spirit on the baptized is signified by the anointing with chrism. This anointing incorporates the baptized into Christ who was anointed priest, prophet, and king (see CCC, 1241).   

***Why Baptize Children?

  • The Catholic Church has always baptized infants from the beginning of her public ministry on Pentecost Sunday.
  • On many occasions we read in the Acts of the Apostles when someone converts to Christianity, “he and his whole household were baptized.” (See Acts 16:31-33. See also Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16) 
  • Back in those times household included the entire tribe: patriarch, matriarch, and all the children/grandchildren.They all lived in several tents in the same tribe.
  • When the Acts of the Apostles mentioned that the ‘entire household’ was baptized, that included children without any doubt: “There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole ‘households’ received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.” (CCC, 1252)
  • The Catholic Church strongly disagrees with those who advocate that “children need to wait to be baptized when they are adults and understand what they are doing.”
  • Sharing the grace of Christ does not depend on someone’s understanding or not understanding it. Do you think you and I can fathom all the logistics of how the divine life of the Trinity works in us?
  • In the physical order of creation, the mother decides to feed her new born child without waiting for their decision.
  • In the spiritual order of salvation, mother Church and the parents decide to spiritually feeding their children with God’s grace through baptism.
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this theology by saying: “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.” (CCC, 1250)

Validity of the Sacrament of Baptism

  • The Sacrament of Baptism is valid when the baby is baptized with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
  • Using any element different then water makes the Sacrament of Baptism invalid.
  • Baptizing a child “in the name of Jesus” makes the Sacrament of Baptism invalid.
  • The fact that the Acts of Apostles mentions Baptism ‘in the name of Jesus’ was just in comparison with the Baptism of John, which was a Baptism of repentance versus the Baptism of Jesus by the Holy Spirit (See Acts 19-1-7).
  • In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ explicitly commanded the Apostles to baptize all nations “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
  • In case of emergency, we are all allowed to baptize anyone as long as we use water and invoke the name of the Blessed Trinity.
  • Say I am at a hospital and a baby is dying. I find a clear liquid and I use it to baptize the baby thinking it was water. The baby lives but I find out later that the clear liquid was not water. Was the baptism valid? Objectively, no. However, God will give the child the grace as if the child was baptized because it is not the child’s fault.

Other Types of Baptism

  • Baptism is necessary for salvation. Besides baptism with water, there are other types of baptism equally valid.
  • Baptism by blood: Suppose one lives in a country where Christians are persecuted and are not allowed to practice their Catholic faith. In that case if a person is killed after receiving the instructions for Baptism but before receiving the Sacrament, that person is baptized in their own blood.
  • Objectively, they haven’t been baptized by water; yet because they died for the faith, they are baptized by their own blood.
  • Baptism by desire: If someone desires to be baptized, but right before the Baptism they die. In this case they receive the Baptism of desire: Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.” (CCC, 1260)

What Happens to Children Who Die Without Baptism?

  • If Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, what happens to those children who die without it?
  • It is totally unacceptable to believe that they go to hell.
  • God who made us for the sole purpose of inheriting eternal life is not cruel to send someone to hell without any fault of their own.
  • The Catechism teaches: “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.” (CCC, 1261)

You Are Responsible to Have Your Children Baptized

  • The invitation of Christ to baptize all nations is at the same time a personal invitation to us all to baptize our children.
  • It is our responsibility as parents and friends to ensure that the grace of the Blessed Trinity is being shared by every child of God, no exception.
  • Jesus Christ did not die in vain. He died so everyone will share in his death and resurrection through baptism for their own redemption.
  • Christ will be judging us one day based on whether we allowed his redemption to be shared by his children or not.
  • Stand firm against any cultural trends that minimize the presence and action of Christ in our world.
  • The evil one tries in every way to convince people that baptism is an old practice.
  • The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is everlasting. If anyone doubt that, have them look at the mystery of death.
  • Everyone dies. Cultures and sciences can never answer this enigma; baptism, Christian life can.
  • Immerse all children in God’s life so when they leave this earth they will share in the incredible glory of the Blessed Trinity.

Capítulo 8: El Bautismo

Las enseñanzas en este capítulo se basan en las Escrituras Sagradas, la Tradiciones de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (CCC)), los Padres de la Iglesia (especialmente San Thomas Aquinas y San Agustín) él Magisterio de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente San Papa Pablo VI, San Papa John Paul II y Papa Benedicto XVI).  

La Encarnación de Dios el Hijo es la Condición de la Posibilidad de Todos los Sacramentos: Dios en su misericordia divina y sabiduría quiera salvar la raza humana del pecado y la muerte. El hijo asumió la naturaleza humana concebida en la matriz de María y lo usó como un instrumento de salvación. Por muriendo y resucitando de la muerte, Jesús regresó nuestra naturaleza a Dios y el Espíritu Santo. Esta economía de salvación impuesta en la Iglesia el mismo método de comunicando la vida y gracia divina de Dios. La Iglesia también deben de usar los elections creados por humanos (Jesús usó su naturaleza humana) que confirmara la divina Gracia de Dios. Los elementos creados por los humanos se llaman los Sacramentos. La encarnación hace posible que los sacramentos ocurren.         

Definición de los Sacramentos: La palabra sacramento (mysterion en Griego) significa misterio pero no en el sentido que es algo que no conocemos. Es un misterio en el sentido que hay dos dimensiones: una visible que fue creada y una invisible que es la divina gracia de Dios. La dimensión visible es un instrumento para la dimensión invisible. La divina Gracia de Dios es comunicado por la dimensión visible.  

El Bautismo tiene Dos Dimensiones: En el Bautismo tenemos un elemento humano que la agua y un elemento divino, la gracia de la Trinidad. Jesús fue bautizado en la agua del río Jordán ask fundando el sacramento del Bautismo ( él no tenía que ser bautizado como confirmó Juan el Bautista. Al fin del Evangelio de Mateo, Jesús mandó los Apóstoles que fueran a todas las naciones y que los bautizaran en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo.  

La Validez del Bautismo: Para que el sacramento del Bautismo sea válido, el ministro debe regar y la invocación de lo más de la Santísima Trinidad. Uno no puede ser bautizado “en el nombre de Jesús”. El hecho es que esto se menciona en el Hecho de los Apóstoles que platica el bautismo de Jesús comparado al bautismo de Juan (que fue un bautismo de arrepentimiento contra el bautismo de Jesús por el Espíritu Santo). En el Evangelio de Mateo, Cristo dijo explícitamente “ve y bautiza todas las naciones en el nombre del Padre, de Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.”.

En caso de emergencias todos estamos permitidos bautizar a una persona siempre y cuando que usamos agua y invocamos la Santísima Trinidad.Digamos que estoy en un hospital y un bebé se está muriendo. Encuentro un líquido claro y lo usó para bautizar al bebé en el nombre del Padre, el Hijo y el Espíritu Santo. El bebé vive, pero luego descubro que el líquido claro no era agua. ¿Fue válido el bautismo? Objetivamente, no. Sin embargo, Dios le dará la gracia al niño como si fueran bautizados porque no es su culpa. 

Diferentes Tipos de Bautismo: Además del agua, hay diferentes tipos de bautismo: bautismo por sangre y bautismo por deseo. Si uno vive en un país donde los Cristianos son perseguidos y no se les permite vivir la Fe Católica. La persona que recibió las instrucciones para ser bautizado pero fue asesinado justo antes del sacramento. Ellos son bautizados en su propia sangre. Objetivamente, no han sido bautizados por el agua; pero como murieron por la Fe, son bautizados por su propia sangre. Otra situación es cuando alguien desea ser bautizado y justo antes del bautismo, mueren, ellos reciben el bautismo del deseo. 

          El Bautismo Borra el Pecado Original Pero No Su Consecuencia, Concupiscencia: El primer efecto del bautismo toma lugar en el nivel ontológico: el bautismo borra el pecado original. El pecado original cometido por los primeros padres fue transmitido a nosotros. El catecismo de la Iglesia Católica enseña: “siempre será un misterio cómo el pecado original fue transmitido desde los primeros padres a toda la humanidad en el sentido de que no es un pecado cometido, es un pecado contractado”. El pecado original no es un pecado real; es un pecado contratado, un pecado transmitido porque cuando nace un bebé, no han pecado personalmente porque aún no tienen la libertad para desobedecer a Dios. Pero todavía nacen con el pecado original. El bautismo borra el pecado original de una vez por todas en la persona que se bautiza. Uno podría preguntarse “si el bautismo borra el pecado original, ¿Cómo es que las personas todavía pecan Solo porque el bautismo borra el pecado original, no significa que borre las consecuencias del pecado original. 

La tendencia a pecar, creada por el pecado original, se llama concupiscencia. La concupiscencia todavía está dentro de nosotros, aunque el pecado original fue borrado por el bautismo. Debido a que la concupiscencia todavía está en uso a pesar de nuestro bautismo, Cristo nos dio el sacramento de la reconciliación. En la Teología Católica, a diferencia de la teología de la reforma (Teología Protestante), la concupiscencia ya no es pecado. La tendencia a pecar en uso, como resultado del original sin, todavia no es pecado. Se convierte en un pecado si lo aceptamos y actuamos en consecuencia. En nuestro viaje espiritual, somos llamados a controlar la concupiscencia. Si no lo controlamos debido a nuestras debilidades, tenemos el sacramento de la reconciliación. 

El Bautismo es un Intercambio Personal en la Muerte y Resurrección de Cristo: En un nivel Cristológico, el bautizo es un intercambio personal en la muerte y resurrección de Cristo. La muerte y resurrección de Cristo es el evento más importante de la historia humana: Jesús destruyo el mal y redimido la humanidad. Restauró la naturaleza humana a su inocencia original y lo llevó a niveles más elevados de justicia. Al comienzo de la Iglesia, el bautismo se hizo sumergiendo ninos en agua: estando debajo del agua simboliza la muerte de Cristo; siendo sacado del agua simboliza su resurrección.  

La Gracia Natural y Gracia Sobrenatural: En el nivel de la creación, Dios nos dio la chispa de vida en el momento de nuestra concepción en el vientre. En la misma manera en el nivel de la creación Dios nos da vida para empezar a existir, en el nivel del bautismo de salvación nos da la primera chispa de la divina vida de la Santísima Trinidad. En ese sentido, nuestra vida física siempre es paralela a nuestra vida espiritual porque ambas se completan. El nivel de creación es donde recibimos la gracia natural existente; el nivel de salvación es cuando somos bautizados para comenzar la gracia sobrenatural de Dios en nosotros. El bautismo es un nuevo nacimiento, una nueva creación. 

           El Bautismo nos hace Hijos de Dios: Uno de los aspectos más importantes de la revelación de Dios por parte de Jesús es que Dios es “nuestro Padre”. En el Antiguo Testamento, los profetas, los ángeles, los reyes y el pueblo de Israel fueron llamados “el Hijo de Dios”. Sin embargo, la filiación de Jesucristo está en un nivel ontológico diferente: Jesús llamaba al Padre “Abba” una palabra que se usa entre un niño y su padre en la cultura Judía. Solo eso fue lo más escandaloso que los Judíos escucharon de Jesús lo que hizo que quisieran matarlo (nadie entre los Judíos se atrevería a llamar al Dios trascendente “Abba”. Usar la palabra “Abba” hizo que Jesús se presentara sí mismo también como en el mismo nivel del Padre (Juan, 8 y 10). Jesús siempre hizo una distinción entre su filiación al Padre y nuestra filiación al Padre. Después de su resurrección, Jesús le dijo a María Magdalena: “ve y diles a mis hermanos que voy a mi Padre y a tu Padre”. Su filiación es ontológica; el nuestro es por adopción a través del bautismo. Cuando uno recibe el sacramento del Bautismo, uno se convierte en el hijo de Dios en Jesucristo. Entonces la filiación íntima entre nosotros y Dios el Padre adquiere su dimensión más profunda en el bautismo. 

El Bautismo y el Espíritu Santo: La relación eterna de amor entre el Padre y el Hijo es una Persona diferente: el Espíritu Santo. Si el Padre y el Hijo se relacionan entre ellos a través del Espíritu Santo en persona, el Espíritu Santo se convierte en Dios en relación a sí mismo. Dios no cambiará cuando se ingrese a nuestra historia: el Espíritu Santo es Dios en relación con nuestro mundo. Cada vez que Dios se relaciona con el mundo desde el principio de los tiempos hasta ahora, lo hace por del Espíritu Santo. El bautismo se lleva a cabo, por lo tanto, a través de la acción del Espíritu Santo que se invoca en el agua y el niño. El Espíritu Santo hace que el niño sea un hijo del Padre en Jesús el Hijo.             

El Bautismo nos introduce en la Comunidad de la Iglesia Católica: La última dimensión del bautismo es la dimensión eclesiológica. El bautismo es el “boleto” de entrada a la comunidad de la Iglesia. A través del bautismo, el niño oficialmente se convierte en parte del cuerpo de Cristo, la Iglesia. El bautismo crea inmediatamente entre los miembros de la Iglesia la responsabilidad de interactuar, ayudar y amar al recién nacido. Jesucristo estableció una comunidad que tiene una fe, un bautismo y un cuerpo de Cristo. Algunos se introducen en el cuerpo de Cristo aquí en la tierra a través del bautismo; otros se introducen en el cuerpo eterno de Cristo en el cielo por bautismo de la muerte. El bautismo es el comienzo del camino de fe del niño con la comunidad con el objetivo de ser parte de la comunidad en el cielo. 

Bautismo de los Niños: La Iglesia Católica siempre ha bautizado a niños desde el comienzo de su existencia Domingo de Pentecostés. En muchas ocasiones, leemos en los Hechos de los Apóstoles cuando alguien se convierte al cristianismo: “él y toda su casa fueron bautizados”. En aquellos tiempos, el concepto de hogar incluía a toda la tribu: patriarca, matriarca y todos los niños viven todos juntos en varias carpas diferentes en el mismo lugar. Cuando los Hechos de los Apóstoles mencionaron cuando toda la familia fue bautizada y que incluía niños, no hay preguntas al respecto.

Estoy totalmente en desacuerdo con aquellos que defienden que “los niños necesitan esperar y ser bautizados hasta cuando entienden lo que están haciendo”. La Gracia de Cristo no depende de que alguien lo entienda o no lo entienda. Nadie puede comprender toda la logística de cómo funciona la vida divina de la Trinidad en nosotros. El bautismo le confiere la gracia de Dios al niño para que nazca espiritualmente como un hijo de Dios. El niño ya nació físicamente y la madre decide que alimentara su hijo. Paralelo a eso orden de la creación, la Iglesia asume la responsabilidad de dar un nacimiento espiritual al niño a través del bautismo. Aquellos que defienden que “no debemos hacer el bautismo hasta que el bebé pueda decidir por sí mismo”. Los padres deciden qué es lo correcto para sus hijos cuando nacen físicamente. También deberían decidir sumergir a su hijo en el seno de la Santísima Trinidad.

By Father Antoine (Anthony) Nachef, STD (Doctorate in Sacred Theology)