The practice of renewing baptismal promises at Easter is essential for those who take the stewardship of their faith seriously. It focuses the steward’s attention on answering Christ’s call to follow after him, proclaiming his Gospel in word and deed, putting the Eucharist into action, building up the communion of faith, and sharing Christ’s peace with a broken world.
Renewing our baptismal promises and the baptismal focus of holy water is most compelling at the Easter Vigil where the sprinkling is directly connected to the renewal of promises. The use of holy water compels us to reflect on our baptism, calls us back to our central identity as Catholic Christians, and strengthens us anew “as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:10).
The renewal of our baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil is directly related to our observance of Lent. Lent has had a twofold purpose. It prepared the unbaptized to celebrate the rites of initiation by putting them through a period of spiritual preparation, and it immersed the faithful in a period of repentance and renewal.
Christ has risen and is present among us, calling us each day to follow after him.
The baptismal water of Easter also performs a twofold purpose. It baptizes the catechumens and it refreshes our covenant with God in Christ through the renewal of our baptismal promises. It “seals” our resolve to follow Jesus more closely.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us some general guidelines on how to live out our baptismal promises and reminds us that: “… the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us” (See #1269-70).
Stewards strive to remain faithful to their baptismal promises each day and to resist temptations to wander away: they are faithful to daily prayer, participate more fervently in the Eucharistic celebration, try to live the Beatitudes, and make a commitment to ongoing conversion of heart (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2340).
Many who say they are Catholic desire to live their lives as if Jesus was still in the tomb. But he is not. Christ has risen and is present among us, calling us each day to follow after him. Living our baptismal promises inspires us to be good stewards of God’s plan as individuals and as a Eucharistic community in the 21st century.
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