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Peters: Renew baptismal promise to truly fulfill purpose of Easter season

The Easter Season is the transition period between Christ’s resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, which makes it the time when we must prepare to take his message out into the world. To guide us, the church takes examples from the Acts of the Apostles, and this week’s reading has the disciples go out to convert the crowd. 

The passage begins shortly after Peter reminds the large crowd that they were witness to the resurrection and promised the Holy Spirit to come. He then makes it clear that Christ is the savior in Acts 2: 36: “let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

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These are eternal words, as they speak to every Christian, because it is both from our sin and for our salvation that Christ died. They also speak to us, because it is our duty to go out and let others know that Christ truly is the savior. That does not mean that the command does not come without burden, and it cuts to the very point of our human weakness. 

Yet the command is rather straightforward and simple, as Peter explains, in Acts 2:3-39, that the people must, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.”

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As Peter shows, the first, and most powerful, way to testify on Christ’s divinity and the promise of salvation is our acceptance of Him and His sacrifice through baptism. It is a commitment that is deeply personal, and yet it is able to shine forth to the world if we hold true to our baptismal promise. 

St. Paul explains in Romans 6 that baptism allows us to cast off our old selves and die to sin so that we too can be raised with Christ. Thus, we admit to our failings and then allow Christ’s saving message to give us the strength to forge a new life, and we “Save [ourselves] from this corrupt generation” as Peter commands in Acts 2:40.

Although us Christians have already been baptized, it is important for us to renew our baptismal promise. Right now, we are like those listening who must reflect on Christ’s sacrifice to understand who we were and who we are meant to be. This does not mean that we are called to sit idle. 

Just as the Apostles briefly sheltered in place before going out into the world, we must prepare for our transition from the role of student to teacher, of disciple to evangelist. When we are ready, we will be called on to guide others to salvation and to spread love through charitable acts. Only then will we truly fulfill the purpose of the Easter season. 

Jeffrey Peters, a graduate of Catholic University with a doctorate, attends St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester. Reach him at 17peters@cardinalmail.cua.edu.

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