A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST
A reading from the sermons of St. Augustine [354-430]
I address myself to you, newly-baptized infants, little ones in Christ, new offspring of the Church, grace of the Father, fruitfulness of the Mother’s womb, holy children, new swarm, flower of our honour, and fruit of our labour, my joy and my crown, all of you who stand upright before the Lord.
I address to you the words of the Apostle: ‘Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires’, so that you may put on the life which you have put on by this sacrament. ‘For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’
Such is the efficacy of this sacrament. It is the sacrament of the new life which begins at the present time by the forgiveness of all past sins, but will only be completed in the resurrection of the dead. We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that as Christ has arisen from the dead, we too may walk in newness of life.
Now you walk by faith, as long as you journey in this mortal body far from the Lord. But Jesus Christ towards whom you are moving is a sure way. He is this in His humanity which He took on for us. He has in reserve an abundance of sweetness for those who fear Him, which He will manifest and perfect in those who hope in Him, when we shall receive in reality what we have now received in hope.
Today is the octave of your birth; today is perfected in you the seal of faith which was given among our fathers of old on the eighth day after physical birth through physical circumcision. So too the Lord Himself by rising cut away mortality from the flesh and raised up, not a different body, but one that would die no more. This He did on the Lord’s day, the third day after His passion, the eighth day after the Sabbath, which is also the first.
So you have not yet received in fact the glory of the resurrection but you have the sure hope of receiving it since you have the sacrament of that reality and the pledge of the Spirit. ‘If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.’
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that as Christ has arisen from the dead, I too may walk in newness of life. I believe, that when Christ who is my life appears, I then will also appear with Him in glory. Thank You, Father, for the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism. Amen.
Taken from THE DIVINE OFFICE II – LENT AND EASTERTIDE – The Office of Reading – The Second Reading, pages 439-440.
A Christian Pilgrim