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Baptism as the Foundation of Ministry Fr Gerard Kelly Catholic Institute of Sydney.

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Presentation on theme: "Baptism as the Foundation of Ministry Fr Gerard Kelly Catholic Institute of Sydney."— Presentation transcript:

1 Baptism as the Foundation of Ministry Fr Gerard Kelly Catholic Institute of Sydney

2 Starting point A key principle of this policy is the link between the baptismal call to ministry and the call to serve in an ecclesial community. Baptismal call leads to ecclesial call as the local Church responds to its twofold mission to build up the community and to bring Christ’s love to all people. (Archdiocese of Adelaide, Ecclesial Ministry Policy)

3 Baptism paradigm Acts 8:26-39, Philip & Ethiopian eunuch Read & interpret passage of Scripture ‘Look, here is water!’ Spirit snatches Philip away; eunuch goes on way rejoicing Paradigm for Christian baptism Formation in faith Water baptism Participation in life of the community

4 Basic structure of Church Pattern of baptism mirrors that of the Church and sacraments Sacramental structure of the Church WordStory of God’s saving action Past SacramentRituals by which we confess faith in God (i.e. appropriate the story) Present LivingMission: engagement of the story in our own world Future

5 Working with the structure Offers a ‘grammar’ for church life & ministry Always keep the three elements in balance Focus on one at expense of other leads to distortion Biblical fundamentalism Ritual magic Secular humanism

6 Working with the structure Story This is our memory, tradition. It carries our identity Cf. Jn 14:26, The Spirit will remind you of all that I have said Ritual This gives ownership of the story Cf. Ac 2:37, Be baptised in name of Jesus, your sins forgiven, receive Holy Spirit Mission Creatively & imaginatively remain faithful to the story in our own context Cf. Jn 16:13, The Spirit will lead you into all truth

7 Context for Ministry Ministry takes shape in the mission element: always responsive to changing world Ministry is also part of the story. Whatever shape it takes in certain circumstances it will be in harmony with God’s basic pattern Ministry will also have ritual elements by which what has been given by God is appropriated in new circumstances

8 Central focus of the story Acts 2:32-41, baptism & salvation history From beginning baptism linked to: Cross, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, which is fulfilment of God’s saving work in history Outpouring of the Holy Spirit Confession of Jesus as the Christ Forgiveness of sin Promised future already shaping the present

9 Central focus of the story Salvation has many names: Forgiveness of sin Liberation Reconciliation Justification New life, rebirth Renewal One new humanity Enlightenment

10 Liturgical Action: Scrutinies Uncover & heal all that is weak, defective Strengthen all that is upright, strong ‘to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life’ Instruction through Word of God About mystery of sin About their spirit being filled with Christ

11 Liturgical Action: Anointing ‘The anointing with oil symbolises their need for God’s help and strength so that, undeterred by the bonds of the past and overcoming the opposition of the devil, they will forthrightly take the step of professing their faith and will hold fast to it unfalteringly throughout their lives’ (RCIA, n.191)

12 Liturgical Action: 1 st Anointing Rescue fromLead into Kingdom of darknessKingdom of light Original sinTemples of glory Slavery to sinFreedom of sons & daughters of God Power of darknessStrength for life’s journey

13 Water Baptism Romans 6:3-11, baptised into Christ Through the ritual God changes the person Symbolic participation in death of Jesus ‘You have been freed from sin’ (v.22) and have received the free gift of God, ‘eternal life of Christ Jesus’ (v.23) ‘carrying in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies’ (2 Cor 4:10)

14 Baptised in the Spirit Titus 3:4-7, renewal by the Holy Spirit Anointed as Christ was anointed ‘You have been anointed … you have become sharers of Christ’ (Cyril of Jerusalem) Sons and daughters of God This anointing will never leave you Heirs to promise of eternal life God’s future for us is opened up as a present reality In the Spirit the baptised shape their life within their own concrete circumstances

15 Priesthood of the Baptised Anointed with the Spirit, the baptised are part of the ‘royal priesthood’ 1 Peter 2: 5, 9 Focus here is not on Levitical priesthood, and salvific actions Allusion is to Ex 19:5-6, the priestly kingdom, God’s ‘treasured possession among all the peoples’. I.e. fulfilment of God’s promise (=communion) Cf. Is 61:5, ‘you shall be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God’, because ‘the Spirit of the Lord is on me, he has anointed me; sent me to bring good news…’

16 Priesthood of the Baptised Aside: Original idea in 1 Pet (priesthood in relation to God’s promise being fulfilled; priesthood in relation to communion) all but disappears with the evolution of ministerial priesthood Reformers reject cultic ideas of priesthood and emphasise baptismal priesthood BUT baptismal rites kept early sense of priesthood This is important for way we link ministry and priesthood

17 Priesthood of the Baptised Baptised Christians are associated with the priesthood of Christ. Christ was anointed for priesthood with the Spirit by God (Tertullian, allusion to OT anointing of priests) Christ’s sacrifice: Existential rather than cultic Gift of himself in love Unique, once-for-all Restores humankind to communion with God

18 Priesthood of the Baptised Romans 12:1, offer spiritual sacrifices Existential quality of lives By power of the Spirit, the sacrifice of Christ bears fruit in daily lives of baptised Live as people drawn into communion with God (and therefore with each other) Way of life of each baptised is not simply a question of his/her own salvation; it contributes to the fidelity of the community to its priestly vocation Lives of the baptised become a sign of God’s transformation of the whole of humanity

19 Priesthood of the Baptised The baptised faithful… ‘… are the achievement, completion, and fulfilment of the Church’s sacramental life. It is the assembly that is the new creation, the royal priesthood, the people of God. Their transformed life and transforming actions are the goal of the Christian sacramental order’ (Paul Philibert, The Priesthood of the Faithful)

20 Priesthood and Ministry Baptismal priesthood does not make the baptised ministers (or priests) Rather, they are part of the priestly activity of the church This is a sign of ‘realised mystery’, fulfilment of God’s plan In this sense all Christians are called to participate in the mission of the church The priestly activity of the church requires ministry to support and sustain it; it needs ministers Source of this ministry is anointing with the Spirit: gifts given for service of the church as sign of salvation

21 Priesthood and Ministry Christ perpetually distributes the gift of ministries in his body which is the church; and with these gifts, through his power, we provide each other with help towards salvation, so that doing the truth in love, we grow up in all things into him who is our head. (Lumen Gentium, 7)

22 Priesthood and Ministry Place of ordained priesthood: ‘While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace – a life of faith, hope and charity, a life according to the Spirit – the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians.’ (CCC, 1547) Ministerial priesthood has its own sacrament; it is a sign in a different way to baptism

23 Baptism and the Church 2 Cor 12:13, in the one Spirit you were all baptised into one body Incorporated into Christ = incorporated into the body of Christ Acts 2:41, 47, ‘added’ by God to the church Baptism means entrance into the church This not NOT analogous to joining a club Rather it is to be gathered by the Spirit into communion With God With others

24 Baptism and the Church ‘Church is in Christ as a sacrament or instrumental sign of intimate union with God and of the humanity of all humanity’ (LG, 1) Church is space where the mystery of Christ (saving mystery of God) is opened up for people of all times & places Focus is sacramental rather than juridical

25 Baptism and the Church Baptism puts us in relationship with God and one another (church is a communion) Cf. Ac 2:42, devoted to the apostolic teaching & fellowship Dividing walls are broken down (e.g. Eph 2:14; Gal 3:28) Baptism leads to participation in the Eucharist Communion also expressed in quality of lives we live

26 How do you tell the story? Consider ways that earlier generations have told the story: e.g. ancient baptisteries We are always interpreting this story; we tell it in the way that is necessary for our own time & place

27 Dome of Arian Baptistery RAVENNA (5 th century)

28 Dome of Cathedral Baptistery, Ravenna

29 Dome of Cathedral Baptistery RAVENNA

30 Dome of Baptistery FLORENCE (13 th century)

31 Original sin; the rebuke; the banishment from Paradise Joseph sold to merchants; Joseph’s brothers; Joseph’s journey Adoration of Magi; dream of Magi; return of Magi John preaching; announcing coming Of Messiah

32 Foundation for ministry Baptism asserts the dignity and status of each baptised person as being in Christ, anointed by Spirit Baptism inserts person into the church as living witness to salvation Church has mission to proclaim the Word, saving faith received in baptism (Cf. Matt 28:19) Some of the baptised are called to a ministry which is at the service of baptismal faith and grace. This call has its foundation in their baptism.


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