We rarely think of baptism as the initiation into service of the Gospel. The prophet spells this out for us. This service gives glory to God, leads the community of the baptized to be brought back, (to raise up and restore), and become a light to the nations through evangelization.

One of the conversations in the contemporary Catholic Church regards turning inward and becoming a small remnant to shelter and protect this new and smaller community of the utterly faithful from the world. the flip side of this coin is the movement outward of the church to the world, succinctly said by Pope Francis, something to effect of “Make a noise!” or “Create a stir!” The cautiousness of those turn ing inward and their hesitations and scrupulosity around canonical, liturgical, and catechism purity as their litmus test for fidelity is hardly what the Church needs to be doing in the world today and does not fulfill the commands of Jesus to “go forth”.

Here it is interesting that John the Baptist’s proclamation says that Jesus came to “take away the sin” of the world. Yes, it is singular. The Church, living in Christ, is God’s tool to make this happen. So what is this sin of the world? It seems that this is actions of the human person making of themselves — gods. This that ancient sin of Adam and Eve. The sin is life in darkness away from the Light who is Christ. In baptism we are purified of the darkness and turned toward God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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