4 Mar 2013
You Belong to God's Family
Jesus belonged to a family. His mother’s name is Mary [Luke 1:26-38]. God, the real father of Jesus, called a special and holy man named Joseph to care for Jesus like a father. Joseph was Jesus’ foster father [Matthew 1:18-25]. Jesus, Mary and Joseph belonged to the family we call the Holy Family. Jesus grew up in this family.
Jesus came to show people how to belong to families and groups. Jesus came to show people how to live as God wants. People are doing this when they try to live like Jesus. If everyone lived like Jesus, in the families and groups to which they belong, there would be more:
• appreciation for the ways in which people belong
• praising others for belonging
• loving and caring within groups in which people belong.
Through Baptism people become members of God’s family. God loves all people, Jesus wants everyone to become a member of God’s family. This is why he told his disciples to baptise all nations [Matthew 28:19].
Membership of God’s family, therefore, is not elitist. It is open to all who have faith and are willing to accept Baptism.
Because Christians other than Catholics receive Baptism, membership of God’s family is wider than the Catholic Church.
If a child in the class has not been baptised, the teacher would need to explain that:
• God loves all people equally
• God loves them as much as everyone else in the class
• God wants to live in every human being
• Baptism normally is celebrated when people are babies or after reaching the teenage years
• God will be very happy if anyone who has not been baptised and wishes to do so, then receives Baptism.
People become members of God’s family when God’s family gathers to celebrate a special ceremony called Baptism. It is during this ceremony that Jesus makes someone a new member of God’s family.
The special moment when this happens during the ceremony is when the celebrant, who usually is a priest, pours water over the person being baptised (or immerses them in water),
while saying ‘N…, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’ [cf. Matthew 28:19].
People present at a Baptism
Those usually present at the celebration of Baptism are:
• the one to be baptised, who may be a child or an adult
• the parents who, in the case of the Baptism of a child, promise to help the child to grow in the love of God, and to teach all that belonging to God’s family involves
• the godparents, who represent God’s family, promise to help the parents to keep the promises they have made
• the priest, who acts in the name of Jesus and as leader of the local Church family
• other family members and friends.
Jesus wants his followers to show love in the groups to which they belong (‘“To love is to will the good of another.”’ – Catechism 1766)
People can reflect the God who loves them by the ways they show love and care for those in their families and in the groups to which they belong. Ways people can do so in their families may include; sharing family outings, sharing tasks, caring for sick family members, sharing toys and games, talking with each other, etc. Ways people can show love in their groups may include; sharing, welcoming new members, being friends with everyone at school who wants to be friends with them, playing fairly and encouraging each other, etc.
God’s family has a sign of belonging
People in God’s family show they belong by special actions. One is called the Sign of the Cross. Followers of Jesus often use this sign when they begin and end their prayers. They use it too, when they bless themselves with holy water as they enter the church. Followers of Jesus show their love for God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit when they make the sign of the Cross carefully.
Usually each person belongs to a family who live together. This family in turn belongs to an extended family of relatives. People also belong to groups who share common bonds, for example, clubs, teams, etc .
People may wonder at the God who created them wanting to belong to families and groups.
People are able to share times of special love with family and friends. By enjoying these times, they discover God’s love for them.
Jesus experienced belonging to a family. The members of the Holy Family are Jesus, his mother Mary and foster father Joseph.
Jesus, through his words and actions showed people how to live in groups as God wants. If everyone lived like Jesus, people would be more caring and appreciative of others.
Through Baptism, people become members of God’s family, where all are welcome. Family and friends celebrate the special time of Baptism together. They promise to help the child or adult being baptised to grow in the love of God.
People are able to show love in their families and in the groups they belong to by sharing, taking care of and encouraging each other. A sign of belonging to God’s family is through the action of the Sign of the Cross.
When people continue to show love in families and groups to which they belong, they are living as Jesus wants.