On the Third Sunday of Advent I had the honor of presiding at the baptism of Isaac Angel Gomez in my role as pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Following the sermon, I pronounced to the congregation, “The Candidate for Holy Baptism will now be presented.” With that Isaac’s parents stood, along with his godparents, to undertake the solemn task of presenting their child and godchild to the Lord and the Church to receive the sacrament of baptism by stating, “I present Isaac Angel Gomez to receive the sacrament of baptism.”
If Isaac was older I would have asked him: “Have you already been baptized?” & “Do you desire to be baptized.” These questions are asked because the sacrament of baptism is a once for all event. We can, of course, renew our baptismal vows but we cannot be re-baptized.
The act of presentation is vital to the process of baptism for several reasons.
First, the parents are required to be baptized believing Christians as are the godparents because, for younger children, they answer for themselves the renunciations and confessions that are about to be made for themselves on behalf of the child. They are making a solemn promise and vow to raise the child in a Christian home and in a personal and life changing relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In addition, in presenting the child for the sacrament of baptism they are presenting themselves as the primary teacher and defender of the faith for the child.
I was blessed last Sunday when after nearly a year of discipleship, Isaac’s parents were willing to make that commitment before God and before his Church. The decision to raise children in the faith is the most important decision that a parent can make on behalf of their child.
How sad it has been for me over the years to speak with parents who choose not to baptize their children, even though they are attending church, because they want their children to make the decision for themselves. How absurd that idea is. We would never say, “I’m not going to educate my child because they need to make that decision for themselves.” To raise our children in the Christian faith is one of the most vital and sacred responsibilities we have as Christian parents, and I would argue that those who choose not to raise their children in the faith are Christians in name only.
I am so very proud of Angel and Brisceyda for making the decision to raise their child in the faith once delivered and to publicly confess their own faith.
The Third Sunday of Advent is often referred to as “Gaudete Sunday” or “Rejoicing Sunday.” I rejoice with the Gomez’ at the birth and baptism of their son!
I pray you all a blessed Advent.