Dear Siblings in Christ,
Are you a radical? If you’re baptized, you should be! Consider:
“Our Baptism involves dying to a
of reality and being reborn to a
life of self-giving grounded in Christ.
Baptism is no insurance policy for salvation,
but rather a commitment to a lifestyle
radically different from that of the world…
In the new life, we are ‘dead to sin’ as
St. Paul put it. A dead person no longer sins,
no longer asserts a dominant self-will.”
(Louis Weil, Liturgy for Living, p. 69)
For those of us who were baptized as infants, we might take that gift given us by our parents and godparents for granted. For those who were baptized as older children or adults, your memory of the conversion you experienced might have faded with time. The challenge for us becomes whether or not we recognize how our lives are different because of our belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
Another way to ask it is: How would my life be different if I did not accept Christ as my Lord and Savior? If I weren’t a Christian, would I be turned in on myself even more than I am? If I weren’t a Christian, would I be sorry for the harm I’ve done others? If I weren’t a Christian, what would my Sunday mornings look like without my community of faith? If I weren’t a Christian, how would I handle the stresses, difficulties, and struggles of everyday life? If I weren’t a Christian, would my heart be filled to the brim with gratitude for every gift I have…my life, my family, my friends, my community? If I weren’t a Christian, how would I interpret the deaths of all my loved ones? If I
weren’t a Christian, how would I approach death at the end of my own life?
In the early Church, candidates for Baptism were required to prepare for three years.
Three years!! According to Weil’s book (p. 71), “It was a time of a gradual shifting of one’s center of life from the world to Christ.” Shifting the center of our lives doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming a Christian involves our entire being as we train ourselves to move away from self-centeredness to a sincere desire to live for and serve others. We move from self-love to outward-love, which is modeled for us by God through Jesus Christ.
As we near the completion of our Stewardship Campaign, God the Giver, it’s important that we not take for granted our baptismal call to be outward focused instead of inward focused. Now is the time to reevaluate whether or not the center of our lives has shifted from the world to Christ. Now is the time to be radicals!
In this month designated for Thanksgiving, now is also the time to thank God for our baptismal call and to thank those responsible who first brought us to Jesus Christ. Now is the time to be thankful for the life we have in Jesus…and to be thankful for the life we are not living without him!
In Christ’s Radical Love,