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Repentance and Baptism (5th Sunday of Easter)

Posted : Apr-29-2023

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In this Sunday’s Acts reading, St. Peter concludes his sermon to the people of Jerusalem. His words touch them so profoundly that they ask what they must do to be saved. Peter’s answer is as simple as it is poignant: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (v. 38).

Two important points emerge Peter’s words. The first is the connection between Baptism and forgiveness of sins. This text becomes one of the bases for the doctrine that Baptism is regenerative. Peter would elaborate on this later on in his first epistle when he declares, “Baptism … now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). For this reason, the Church stresses the necessity of baptism for salvation: “The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit’” (CCC 1257).


The second point is that the grace of Baptism is promised not just to believers, but also to their children: “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off” (v. 39). For this reason, whenever believers come to faith in the New Testament, their entire household is baptized, including any children in them. The Church affirms that this is because, “born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.” (CCC 1250).

Luis Dizon

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