The early Church prayed that the Lord stretch forth His "hand in cures and signs and wonders" (Acts 4:30). The Lord answered their prayers, for "the place where they were gathered shook as they prayed. They were filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 4:31). Nevertheless, although the Lord is quite willing to do signs and wonders, the main thing on His mind is that we be begotten from above of water and Spirit (Jn 3:3, 5). Thus, when Nicodemus started talking to Jesus about signs and wonders, the Lord changed the subject and talked about being begotten from above, that is, being baptized and living the baptized life (see Jn 3:2-3).
Before Jesus ascended, He was again thinking about Baptism, for He commanded the Church to baptize the nations (Mt 28:19). Jesus taught that those who believe in the Good News and accept Baptism will be saved while those who refuse "to believe in it will be condemned" (Mk 16:16). Before His Ascension, Jesus also promised that within a few days His disciples would "be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5).
As a result of receiving this Baptism on Pentecost, Peter proclaimed that Jesus was both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36). "Those who accepted his message were baptized; some three thousand were added that day" (Acts 2:41), and the Church was born through the waters of Baptism. Because Jesus is so preoccupied with Baptism, He has led the Church to call for its members to renew their baptismal promises on the first day of the Easter season.
Have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). Think Baptism. Live Baptism. Be risen in Christ.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2012 through May 31, 2012.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 31, 2011.