Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Denho/Baptism

Volume 5 No. 257 January 5, 2015

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Baptism of Jesus - Giotto, 1305
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Denho Feast in Church

1. Bible Readings for Denho (January 6)

Bible Readings for Denho

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_Denho.htm

2. Sermons for Denho (January 6)

Sermons for Denho

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_denaha.htm

Denho / Baptism Articles

3. Our Baptism Gives Us a New and Glorious Hope

In Baptism "we are immersed in the inexhaustible source of life that is the death of Jesus" and this is why the first sacrament "is not just a formality", a rite for the naming of a child but "an act which deeply touches our lives . A child who is baptized is not the same as a non- baptized child, a baptized person is not the same as a non-baptized person". ...

4. Baptism - Commentary on Romans 6:3-9

The universal dominion of sin, which began with the sin of Adam, is not the only event to be reckoned with. When sin reached its full extent, the grace brought by Jesus Christ came in superabundance. Through Baptism this grace reaches each of us and frees us from the control of sin. When we receive this Sacrament we die: that is to say, our blameworthiness is destroyed, we renounce sin once and for all, and are born again into a new life. ...

5. Biblical Basis of Baptism

The sacrament of Baptism as practiced in the Syriac Orthodox Church is deeply rooted in the biblical teachings.

6. What Does It Mean to Be Baptized With the Holy Spirit?

In a strictly theological sense, John the Baptist is distinguishing his Baptism, which was merely a washing that signified repentance, from the Baptism of Christ, which actually brings forgiveness and bestows the very life of God, and all the graces of this new life to the believer. We are not merely washed of our sins in the Sacrament of Baptism, we are made new, and the seed of God's very own life, love and grace are sown in us, to grow. We are actually sanctified and made new. ...

7. Why Jesus was Baptized?

Being one in the Trinity, Jesus had no need to undergo that, which is done in the name of Trinity. Then why he went in for baptizing? There are four reasons. ...

8. Learn more About the sacrament of Baptism/Denho

Malankara World Journal has published two specials on Denha. Malankara World Library also has several articles on Baptism. Especially noteworthy are the articles by Arch Corepiscopa Dr. Kurian Kaniamparambil. ...

9. About Malankara World

Denho/Feast in Church
Bible Readings for Denho (January 6)
Sermons for Denho (January 6)
Denho / Baptism Articles

Our Baptism Gives Us a New and Glorious Hope

by Pope Francis

Pope calls on Christians to "renew" grace of Baptism, which unites us to Jesus and gives hope on road to salvation (Asia News)

In Baptism "we are immersed in the inexhaustible source of life that is the death of Jesus" and this is why the first sacrament "is not just a formality", a rite for the naming of a child but "an act which deeply touches our lives . A child who is baptized is not the same as a non- baptized child, a baptized person is not the same as a non-baptized person".

Renewing the grace of Baptism, by which "we can live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, sin and death, but in communion with God and with our brothers."

The Pope described Baptism as, "the sacrament on which our faith is founded, to engages us as living members in Christ and in his Church. Together with Communion and Confirmation it forms so-called "Christian Initiation ", which is like one big sacramental event that configures us to God and makes us a living sign of His presence and His love".

The Pope then once again asked those present if they remembered the date of their baptism and gave them a piece of advice. Or rather a "task". He asked them to look up the date of their Baptism when they go home today, "ask what the date of your Baptism was and thus you will know the date of this beautiful day". "Because this means knowing the date of a beautiful day".

"Many of us - he continued - have not the slightest recollection of the celebration of this sacrament , and it is obvious, if we were baptized shortly after our birth". There is therefore "the risk of losing consciousness of what the Lord has done in us, the gift we have received". Of reducing it to being an event from the past that "no longer has any effect on the present. We must renew the memory of our Baptism: renew the memory of our Baptism. We are called to live our baptism every day, as a current reality in our lives. If we follow Jesus and remain in the Church, despite our limitations, and our weaknesses and our sins, it is because of this very Sacrament in which we have become new creatures and we were vested in Christ".

"It is by virtue of Baptism that, freed from original sin, we became part of Jesus' relationship with God the Father, that we are the bearers of a new hope, because Baptism gives us this new hope: the hope of travelling on the road of salvation, all life long. And nothing and no one can quench this hope, because this hope does not disappoint. Remember: This is true. Hope in the Lord never disappoints. Through baptism, we are able to forgive and to love even those who offend and hurt us; may we recognize the face of the Lord who visits and is close to us in the needy and poor. And this, Baptism, helps us to recognize in the faces of the needy, the suffering, even in our neighbor , the face of Jesus, thanks to this power of Baptism".

The Pope highlighted that "no one can baptize themselves! No-one. We can ask for it, desire it, but we always need someone to confer this sacrament on us in the name of the Lord. Because Baptism is a gift given in a context of concern and fraternal sharing. Always throughout history, one person baptizes the other, the other, the other ... it's a chain. A chain of grace. But, I can not baptize on my own: I have to ask another person for Baptism. It is an act of brotherhood, an act of affiliation to the Church. During the celebration of the Baptism we can recognize the most genuine features of the Church, which, like a Mother, continues to generate new children in Christ, in the fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit".

Baptism - Commentary on Romans 6:3-9
[3] Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? [4] We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. [6] We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. [7] For He who has died is freed from sin. [8] But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. [9] For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
- Romans 6:3-9

Commentary:

1-11. The universal dominion of sin, which began with the sin of Adam, is not the only event to be reckoned with. When sin reached its full extent, the grace brought by Jesus Christ came in superabundance. Through Baptism this grace reaches each of us and frees us from the control of sin. When we receive this Sacrament we die: that is to say, our blameworthiness is destroyed, we renounce sin once and for all, and are born again into a new life.

"The Lord", St. Ambrose tells the newly baptized, "who wanted His benefactions to endure, the serpent's plans to be turned to naught, and the harm done to be put right, delivered a sentence to mankind: 'You are dust, and to dust you shall return' (Genesis 3:19), and made man subject to death [...]. The remedy was given him: man would die and rise again [...]. You ask me how? [...] Pay attention. So that in this world too the devil's snare would be broken, a rite was instituted whereby man would die, being alive, and rise again, being alive [...]. Through immersion in water the sentence is blotted out: 'You are dust, and to dust you shall return'" ("De Sacramentis", II, 6).

This passage of the epistle, which reveals the key truths concerning Baptism, also reminds us of the profound meaning of this rite which Christ established, its spiritual effects in Christians and its far-reaching effects with respect to the Christian life. Thus, we can apply to Baptism what St. Thomas Aquinas says about all the sacraments: "Three aspects of sanctification may be considered - its very cause, which is Christ's Passion; its form, which is grace and the virtues; and its ultimate end, which is eternal life. And all these are signified by the sacraments. Consequently, a sacrament is a sign which is both a reminder of the past, that is, of the Passion of Christ, and an indication of what is effected in us by Christ's Passion, and a foretelling and pledge of future glory" ("Summa Theologiae", III, q. 60, a. 3).

In the specific case of Baptism, the various things which the Sacrament implies carry a special nuance - a new birth which presupposes a symbolic death. It reproduces in us not only the Passion, Death and burial of Christ, symbolized by immersion in water (verses 3-4, 6), but also new life, the life of grace which pours into the soul, enabling the person to share in the Resurrection of Christ (verses 4-5). This sharing in Christ's Resurrection to immortal life is a kind of seed which will ultimately produce the glorious resurrection of our bodies.

The baptized person is, therefore, someone newly created, someone born into a new life, someone who has moved out of darkness into light. The white garment used at Baptism symbolizes innocence and grace; the burning candle, the light of Christ - two symbols the Church uses in the baptismal liturgy to signify what is happening.

Thus, in Baptism, God "removes every trace of sin, whether original or personal" ("The Rite of Baptism", Introduction, 5) and also remits the penalties that these sins incur. On being baptized in the name of the Three Divine Persons, the Christian is shown God the Father's love for him (a love he has not merited), is given a share in the Paschal Mystery of the Son, and to him is communicated new life in the Spirit (cf. "Instruction on Infant Baptism", 20 October 1980, 9). Baptism, which is also described as "the door of the spiritual life", unites a person to Christ and to the Church by means of grace, which makes us children of God and heirs to Heaven. Finally, in addition to the infused virtues and supernatural gifts, the person is given "the graces necessary to live in a Christian way, and on his soul is impressed the sacramental character which makes him a Christian for evermore" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 250).

Baptism, which confers a "character", that is, a kind of seal confirming our Christian calling, gives us a share in Christ's priesthood and makes us capable of receiving the other sacraments.

4. It is easier to grasp the symbolism of burial and resurrection if one remembers that in earlier times, and particularly in the apostolic period, Baptism was usually administered by immersion in water - in some cases by total immersion, up to three times, with one Person of the Blessed Trinity being invoked each time. "They asked you, 'Do you believe in God the Father almighty?' You said, 'I believe', and you were immersed, that is, you were buried. Again they asked you, 'Do you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and in His Cross?' You said, 'I believe', and you were again immersed. This time you have been buried with Christ, and he who is buried with Christ rises with Christ. For a third time you were asked, 'Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?' You said, 'I believe', and for a third time you were immersed, so that by this three-fold confession you might be loosed of your many attachments to your past life" (St. Ambrose, "De Sacramentis", II, 7).

Today Baptism is normally administered by pouring water over the head - a method also used in apostolic times and which gradually came into general use because it was found more convenient.

5. Just as the ingraft and the plant form a single thing and make a single principle of life, Christians by being grafted onto or incorporated into Christ through Baptism form one single thing with Him and begin to draw on His divine life. We are also "united with Him in a death like His": Christ suffered physical death; we, in Baptism, die spiritually to the life of sin. St. John Chrysostom explains this as follows: "Baptism is for us what the Cross and burial were for Christ; but with this difference: the Savior died physically, He was physically buried, whereas we ought to die spiritually. That is why the Apostle does not say we are 'united with Him with His death', but 'in a death like his'" ("Hom. on Rom.", 10).

9-10. Jesus Christ chose to bear all the consequences of sin, even though He was sinless. His voluntary death on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection broke the bonds of death, for Himself and for all His own. Death no longer shall have dominion: "[Christ died] that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15). And as a consequence He won, for His own human nature and for us, a new life.

In all those who have been baptized these same events in Christ's life are in some way reproduced. "Our past sins have been wiped out by the action of grace. Now, so as to stay dead to sin after Baptism, personal effort is called for, although God's grace continues to be with us, providing us with great help" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on Rom.", 11). This personal effort might be encapsulated in a resolution: "May we never die through sin; may our spiritual resurrection be eternal" (St. J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", 1st Glorious Mystery).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

Biblical Basis of Baptism
As administered by John.

Matthew 3:5-12 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

John 3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

Acts 13:24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Sanctioned by Christ's submission to it.

Matthew 3:13-15 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

Adopted by Christ.

John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

John 4:1-2 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

Appointed an ordinance of the Christian church

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

To be administered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:

Water, the outward and visible sign in.

Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Regeneration, the inward and spiritual grace of.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Remission of sins, signified by.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord

Unity of the Church effected by.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Galatians 3:27-28 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Confession of sin necessary to.

Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Repentance necessary to.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Faith necessary to.

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

There is but one.

Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism.

ADMINISTERED TO

Individuals.

Acts 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Acts 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Households.

Acts 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

1 Corinthians 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

Emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;

Typified.

1 Corinthians 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Foretold.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Is through Christ.

Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Christ administered.

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

Promised to saints.

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

All saints partake of.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Necessity for.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 19:2-6 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Renews and cleanses the soul.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

The Word of God instrumental to.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Typified.

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Source: The Western Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch -
( http://soc-wus.org)

What Does It Mean to Be Baptized With the Holy Spirit?

by Msgr. Charles Pope

In Mark 1:8, John the Baptist says,

I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8).

Matthew and Luke add: and with fire.

What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit (and with fire)? In the first place we must be careful to indicate, right from the beginning, that Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not distinct, different, or later than our reception of the Sacrament of Baptism. Rather it is the unfolding and deepening experience of what the Sacrament of Baptism (and Confirmation) have effected in us.

In a strictly theological sense, John the Baptist is distinguishing his Baptism, which was merely a washing that signified repentance, from the Baptism of Christ, which actually brings forgiveness and bestows the very life of God, and all the graces of this new life to the believer. We are not merely washed of our sins in the Sacrament of Baptism, we are made new, and the seed of God's very own life, love and grace are sown in us, to grow. We are actually sanctified and made new.

Some of the Fathers of the Church have this to say:

Theophylus – The baptism of John had not remissions of sins, but only brought men to penitence. He preached therefore the baptism of repentance, that is, he preached that to which the baptism of penitence led, namely, remission of sins, that they who in penitence received Christ, might receive Him to the remission of their sins.

Jerome – For what is the difference between water and the Holy Ghost, who was borne over the face of the waters? Water is the ministry of man; but the Spirit is ministered by God.

Bede – Now we are baptized by the Lord in the Holy Ghost, not only when in the day of our baptism, we are washed in the fount of life, to the remission of our sins, but also daily by the grace of the same Spirit we are inflamed, to do those things which please God

According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ's death, is buried with him, and rises with him: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:3-4) The baptized have "put on Christ." (Gal 3:27) Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies (1 Cor 6:11). Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the "imperishable seed" of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. (CCC 1227-1228)

This quote from the Catechism then moves us beyond the merely Theological answer to the question, "What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?" and opens also, the "experiential" question: What is it "like" to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?

Experientially, It means knowing what we have received in Baptism and Confirmation. But here, "knowing" does not mean mere intellectual knowing (οἴδα – odia in the Greek New Testament). Rather it means experiential knowing (γινώσκo – ginosko in the Greek New Testament). It is one thing to "know about" God and to be able to pass a religion test. But to be Baptized with the Holy Spirit is to "know" the Lord, personally, deeply, intimately. It is to be in a life changing, transformative relationship with the Lord. It is experiential faith.

Too many people are satisfied with with living their faith by inference, rather than by experience. In other words, they are content to go along saying what they heard some one else say. "Jesus is Lord and risen from the dead" because my mother says so, or my preacher says so, (or even), the Bible says so. All of this is fine, for faith first comes by hearing. But there comes a point when YOU have to say so, because you personally know it to be true.

And this is what it means to be Baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. It is to be able to say, "In the laboratory of my own life I have tested the Word of God and found it to be true. I have personally met and know the Lord, I know Him for myself."

In other words, it is having faith come alive! Faith that is real, tested and certain. It is knowledge that is personal. It is to be a first hand witness to the power of Jesus Christ to change my life, for I am experiencing it in the laboratory of my very own life. He is changing and transforming me. I am seeing sins put to death and wonderful graces come alive. I am more serene, confident, loving, generous and chaste. I am more forgiving, patient, trusting and patient. I love the poor more, and I am less attached to this world. My prayer is becoming deeper as I sense his presence and power in my life. Yes, God is working in my life and He is real. This is my testimony. What is yours?

But this is what it means, experientially, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit (and with fire).

And this is also at the heart of evangelization. How are you going to convert anybody if you're not convinced yourself? Parents, you want your kids to go to Church? Great, and proper. But why do you go? Because it's Church law? Alright, fine, but shouldn't there be a deeper reason? To be Baptized with the Holy Spirit is to go to Mass and make the Christian walk because you know and love Jesus Christ yourself, and you want to bring your children into that living, powerful and life transforming experience of the Lord in prayer, the Mass, the Liturgy, and the Sacraments. That's what you're after. And that's what it means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Pay attention to these word of St. John the Baptist. He, through the Holy Spirit, is teaching us about the "normal Christian life," which is to be alive, joyful, confident, serene and thrilled at what God is doing in my life, at to know (not just know about) the Lord. "I baptize you with water, BUT HE, will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" And he will light a fire in your life, a fire that never dies away, but that grows in intensity as it transforms your very self.

Let he who has ears to hear, heed what the Spirit is saying. Baptism is not a tedious ritual, it is a transformative reality.

Source: Archdiocese of Washington Blog

Why Jesus was Baptized?

by Rev. Fr. K.K. John

The name Snanam: Sanskrit word. It does not convey the exactness of the original Mamodeeso or snanam. Snanam in Sanskrit means, Thechukuli: "Na Snanam Na vilepanam."

There are two snanam:

1, Baptism of John: Baptism of John is known as Baptism of repentance, Mt 3:2, Mk 1:4. This was for remission of sins. It was symbolic because, Kumran Manual of discipline says, 'Mere ablution cannot cleanse but submission of soul to God's ordinances.' However it pointed towards Christ.

Jesus was sinless by birth and by deeds and hence repentance baptism was not required.

2, Christian Baptism: Christian Baptism was instituted after resurrection. This is also called Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is done in the name of Trinity; Father, Son, H Spirit.

Being one in the Trinity, Jesus had no need to undergo that, which is done in the name of Trinity. "Na kuriyal nishphalam karma" that is: no work without purpose.

Then why he went in for baptizing? There are four reasons:

1, Christ's Baptism was to reveal Himself as Son of God to Israel. Until then he led private life.

2, the only purpose of John's baptism was to publicly testify Jesus as Christ, the anointed, before commencement of public ministry. He came to bear witness to light, Jn 1:8. "I did not know him, but that he should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water, 1:31. He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the spirit descending and remaining on him this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God," v 33-34.

3, to fulfill righteousness, "Adyacharyathwam kaikondaharon…Yohannan karthavinnum….

Mat 3:14-15 sheds light as to why Jesus subjected himself to baptism.

When Jesus came to be baptized, John tried to prevent him saying, "I need to be baptized by you and now are you coming to me? But Jesus said to him. Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness". Then he allowed him.

What righteousness is that Jesus talked about? Righteousness is nonnegotiable attribute of God. God cannot do anything repugnant to His own quality. He does not abrogate what he already laid down. Thus God is said as unchangeable, "Same yesterday, today and forever" Heb 13:8.

1, God gave laws through Moses. After Moses' death God did not give new law but affirmed it to Joshua: Josh 1:7, "Be strong and very courageous to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right or to the left."

2, Lazarus and the wealthy: Abraham says, people have to obey the laws of Moses, Luke 16:29.

God gave Priesthood to Moses, Aaron and to his sons forever, Ex 28, v1, 41, 29:442. It was imperative that righteous God not violate rather fulfill the conditions of the law, which He had laid. Thus the priesthood once given to the Levite tribe had to be taken back through and by a Levite only. John bequeathed priesthood according to Levite tribe.

Law required 20 years of age for army service Num 1:3 and 30 years to initiate temple services, Numbers, 4:2. Remember, Jesus was 30 years when he went into Jordan, the age according to law to initiate temple service. What happened here was shifting/transfer of Levite priesthood, which was only for Israelites and became redundant, passed into eternal priesthood through Jesus Christ, which was then given to all humanity through Apostles.

4, by entering into the waters of Jordan God purified the whole element of water, which suffered defilement by the fall of man and reverted it to the original status, says Gregory of Nazianzes. 

Learn more About the sacrament of Baptism/Denho
To Learn more on the sacrament of Baptism/Denho:

Malankara World Journal has published two specials on Denha:

Volume 4 - Issue 187 (2014)

Volume 3 - Issue 118 (2013)

Malankara World Library also has several articles on Baptism. Especially noteworthy are the articles by Arch Corepiscopa Dr. Kurian Kaniamparambil. You can read them here.

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