Welcome to St Joan of Arc Catholic Parish Haberfield.
Year of Laudato Si’ is coming to a close. It will be marked by
“Laudato Si’ ” Week from 19-24 May 2021.
BAPTISM AS THE CONSCRIPTIVE ROPE
To be baptized into the church is to be a consecrated, displaced person. What does that mean?
In John’s Gospel, there is a revealing exchange between Jesus and Peter. Jesus asks Peter three times: “Do you love me?” Three times, Peter replies that he does.
Based on that confession of love, Jesus tells him: “In truth I tell you, when you were young you girded your own belt and you walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a rope around you and take you where you would rather not go.”
What has just been described is, in essence, Peter’s baptism – and the dynamics of any real baptism into the church. Baptism consecrates us and consecration is a rope that takes us to where we would rather not go, namely, into the suffering that produces maturity.
To consecrate means to set aside, to displace from ordinary usage, to derail from normalcy. Long before this has to do with sacred buildings, altars, chalices and vowed religious, it is descriptive of something within ordinary life.
One of the best examples of what church, baptism and consecration really mean is the example of having and raising children.
From the moment a couple has their first child, unless they are very calloused, they will, without necessarily wanting it, start to mature. Every time they turn around, tiny and not so tiny hands will be stretched out, demanding something of them – their time, their energy, their money, their car keys, their understanding, their hearts. They will be forced, by a clear conscription, to think of others before themselves. All those years of practice will eventually pay dividends. Normally, by the time their children are grown, the parents are mature.
Instead of their normal agenda, they are conscriptively asked to make sacrifices in lifestyle, career, hobbies, meals out, vacations and so on. Their children stand before them daily, like Jesus before Peter, asking: “Do you love me?”
Such is baptism. When St. Paul became a Christian, Ananias was sent to him with the message: “Tell him how much he will have to suffer for the name.”
Love is baptismal. Immediately upon confessing it, our freedom is derailed and, painful though it may be, we are taken by conscription into maturity.