Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons or daughters of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the Word. -- Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213
WHY DO CATHOLICS BAPTIZE?
After his resurrection, Jesus gave this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (MT 28:16-20). By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin—original sin and actual—and begin to live a new life with God.
WHY WAS JESUS BAPTIZED?
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. Jesus' immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God's will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM?
In John’s Gospel, Jesus has a dialogue with Nicodemus. Jesus teaches that Baptism is necessary for salvation. "No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn 3:5). The word baptism in its origins is Greek and means "immersion" and "bath." Immersion in water is a sign of death and emersion out of the water means new life. To bathe in water is also to undergo cleansing. Saint Paul sums up this truth when he says, "You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col 2:12).
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