During Easter Vigil 2014, I had the joy of baptising six adults in our parish of Holy Rosary.
All of a sudden – out of the blue – one of the newly-baptised voiced out, “Father, are not all people in the world the children of God?”
I replied, “Yes, you are right, but many, many people do not really know it and do not live accordingly.”
This is a very basic question that should make us think. Being baptised is not in the first place becoming Christian or Catholic. It is in the first place discovering and living out that we are the children of God!
Churches (Catholic and/or Protestant of different denominations alike) are there to help people to discover and enjoy living as children of God. Being a child of God is an ongoing process.
The Bible puts it even more sharply: We live in God! (Acts 17:28) Our real vital space (our matrix) is living in the womb of God! The growing awareness of this grace will gradually transform our lifestyle. In fact, as St Paul will say: we become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).
When we make a simple, short discernment while looking at the world around us, we are placed before a tremendously important choice: either we are the children of the world… or we are the children of God!
The Christian vocation or spirituality is to live like a child of God in our increasingly complex world. Either we are part of the problem or we are part of the solution!
And being a child of God is no theory, no wonderful – yet empty – slogan. It is a great mission, a glorious vocation and privileged responsibility. This is the proof that we are in God. Whoever claims to live in him must act as he acted (1 Jn 2:5-6).
Nobody says that it will be easy. Yet, it is the only sound choice all human beings have to make: to discover and to own, to honour and to live our identity: You are my son/daughter, all my favour rests upon you (Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22).
Baptism does not ‘make’ us children of God. Baptism is the outward sign of an inward journey, a journey into the mystery of God’s life. Once discovered and owned, we want to celebrate and to proclaim to the whole world that we are children of God and that we share in the divine nature (2 Pt 1:3-4).
The more we enjoy this wonderful grace, the more we feel the urge to share this with our friends, to share this with all people worldwide.
Hence, evangelisation is the greatest gift we can offer our brothers and sisters. It is to tell them that they are God’s beloved.
It is to announce to them how precious they are in God’s eyes. It is to share with them how holy they are in our eyes – their fellow human beings – by our love and respect.
I truly believe that helping all human beings discovering their true “divine nature” is the only way to heal our sick world and to save humanity from self-destruction, from greed, shameful corruption and mad violence. For God is peace!
So, we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you through us, and in the name of Christ we appeal to you to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20). Reconciled to God means that we are loved, forgiven by God and treasured as His dearly beloved ones!
Fr Frans De Ridder, CICM
Fr Frans De Ridder, who used to work in Singapore, is now a pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Taipei.