“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20 The Church has been sent on mission by Christ Himself to make disciples by baptizing and teaching. The Church has done this in different ways, for different lengths of time, and using various methods throughout her history. At a very early stage we see Baptism what was referred as Mikvah i.e. the Jewish ritual of purification wherein a person is totally immersed into a pool filled with water. We also see John the Baptist who followed a similar ritual to baptize people who came to hear him preach. John baptized them by submerging them completely in the water, then raising them up again. It was a symbolic ritual, which signified that those who asked for baptism had repented of their sins and resolved to live a more holy life. As it is said that anyone who wanted to be a Christian had to experience the death and resurrection of Christ and the same is revealed in Baptism. Disappearing under the water is a sign of death to sin, a symbol of descending into the grave. Rising out of it is a sign of desire to live a new life. This journey into Christ’ death and resurrection gives us the grace of God’s life. We are given a new birth in which we become children of God and become members of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. Having become a member of the church we no longer belong to ourselves but to him who died and rose again and in a way are called to serve in the church. Baptism has also led to the development of the Rite of Christian Initiation wherein a person is prepared to receive the sacraments i.e. baptism, confirmation and first communion. This time of preparation helps us to deepen our faith in God and to grow in...
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