Reborn of Water and the Spirit: The Rite of Baptism
Jesus’ departing words at the end of St. Matthew’s gospel are: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a) Baptism makes one a disciple of Jesus, someone who follows him and learns from Him. For this reason, adults must come to an understanding and trust of Jesus’ teachings before coming to baptism. Infants are too small to understand Jesus’ teachings intellectually, but they too receive the gift of understanding the teachings of Christ as they grow in age. All who have become disciples of Christ through baptism are by that token joined to his Church, the community of all who are united in Christ. This means that baptism brings the obligation to live as a Christian, following the commandments of Christ and His Church. The Christian life, beginning with baptism, is a constant process of strengthening that communion, through faith, sacraments, and life, so that one day it might become perfect in heaven.