Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
“As we continue to explore “How God Distributes His Gifts” we delve into a deeper look at each of the sacraments. We are reminded that Jesus promises that he would not leave us orphans but would send the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us. He gave the sacraments to heal, feed, and strengthen us.
We first looked at the sacrament of Baptism. Today we will look at the sacrament of Penance (also known as the Confession or Reconciliation). For those who are interested in learning more about the Sacrament of Baptism you can turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church numbers 1422-1498.
Because of original sin, we are born without grace in our souls, so there is no way for us to have fellowship with God. Jesus became man to bring us into union with his Father. He said no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is first born of “water and the Spirit” (John 3:5-6) – this refers to baptism. In John 3:5-6 we read, “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Through baptism we are born again, but this time on a spiritual level instead of a physical level. We are washed in the bath of rebirth. In Titus 3:3-7 we read, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another; but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”
We are baptized into Christ’s death and therefore share in his resurrection. In Romans 6:3-8 we read, “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. 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. We know that our former man was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”
Baptism cleanses us of sins and brings the Holy Spirit and his grace into our souls. In Acts 2:38 and 22:16 we read, “And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
And the apostle Peter is perhaps the most blunt of all in 1 Peter 3:21-22 which reads, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.”
Baptism is the gateway into the Church. (Pillar of fire-Pillar of truth, Catholic Answers)