When he gave the pre-baptismal talks on the first Saturday of each month at the Parish of Saint Pius X, of the Archdiocese of Portland, United States; The first question I asked the participants was: Why do you, fathers and mothers, want to baptize your children? The answers were very diverse, although very similar in all the groups that attended the class. Even though they were diverse because they were young parents, some of them answered: “because I want them to grow in religion”. Others “because it was what my parents instilled in me”. Many of them said that in order for the horns to fall out, and others because they consider it to be a good thing.
There was someone, within a group, who said: “Because I have a long time without celebrating a party with my friends. Others said they simply did not know and that they had been forced to receive pre-baptismal talks. Well, all the answers are good and I reaffirm to the participants that they are not ashamed to express what they think. Then, it was the turn of asking godparents: Why do you want to be godparents? The answers were also very diverse and at the same time very common.
I share some of them: • Because I could not refuse since they have said that it is bad to do so. • Because I like the child’s parents very well. • To guide them along the good path. • To give them an example to follow. • Because parents should not pay for the party. • Because if the parents die, then I must take care of the child. • Because she is my niece and I get along with my brother
To all candidates to be godparents, I thanked them for their answers and told them that there are no bad answers in this first round. Then it was time to ask something deeper. Do you understand the meaning of the word SACRAMENT? Many were thinking and not responding. Suddenly, I began to hear some answers: • I think it means that it is something sacred. • Something that God left us. • I don’t know.
Having heard all the responses of the participants in these conferences, the passage of the Acts of the Apostles in which Philip baptized the Ethiopian came to mind; let’s read the text: “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road— that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way, he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.
“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked, “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of the Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation, he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants. For his life was taken from the earth”. The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, bu went on his way rejoicing” (Acts of the Apostles 8: 26-39).
I would like to emphasize Philip’s next question to the Eunuch: Do you understand what you are reading? The Eunuch replied: HOW WILL I UNDERSTAND IT IF NO ONE EXPLAINS IT TO ME. That is precisely what happens with the majority of baptized Catholics, most of them no one has explained Christian doctrine; most of them have not been explained the Gospel message, most of them have not been explained the Holy ScriScriptures, and that is why it is very difficult for them to know what the signs and symbols of our Christian faith means.
It is very difficult for them to read and understand the sacred scriptures if no one teaches them correctly; it is very difficult for them to understand what the Gospel message means if no one transmits it to them. In the following articles, we will be making an introduction to what sacraments are in general, before going into the details of each of them. In this way, we will begin to explore the general field through which we are introducing ourselves. Then, we will be able to understand and enjoy the meaning of each of the sacraments