My daughter Hosanna got baptized today! My wife and I are so privileged to have this opportunity to entrust Hosanna to the Lord. It is easy to be intimidated by the prospect of raising our child in the faith. The journey would be especially wrought with anxiety if we had to do it by our own strength or on our own. With Baptism those anxieties a manageable. They are tamed by our faith in the grace poured out upon Hosanna at her Baptism; by the Church claiming her for the Lord and coming around us to support us; by the Father’s adoption of her as a daughter and her sharing in the royal ministry of Jesus. There are so many other things at work, but it is through our readings that I’d like to lead our reflection to Jesus’ royal ministry and why we will always raise our kids in the faith.
A friend once hypothetically asked, “Why don’t we just let our kids decide for themselves? Why do we raise them in a faith, instead of letting them get older and then choose?” I think it is a fair question, and there is some merit to the fact that at some point parents need to respect their child’s growing agency… preferably before they are 40 or so. However, I think this line of questioning betrays a view that diminishes God’s active role.
God has established a Kingdom and family. Solidarity helps us recognize that we are one human family, but Christian solidarity goes a step further, we are one, adopted, covenantal family. We are citizens of a kingdom not of this world. The fulfillment of that kingdom is alluded to today at the end of our passage from Daniel. That kingdom is both now, and not yet. When we become complacent in the now, questions like the one posed by my friend become very natural and almost virtuous, but today’s Gospel calls us to remember the not yet. We are called to be vigilant, to be watchful for the fulfillment of the Kingdom.
This is why we will raise our children in the faith. They were born as Americans and unless they move as an adult they’ll be Americans. They were born as Hargadons and unless they disown us as adults they will be Hargadons. Hosanna will be baptized a citizen and heir of the Kingdom of God and we will always help her walk that road because we believe that God made this accessible through Baptism because He chose her before we ever met her.
“Lord, please comfort all Christian parents, let them know Your presence and Your guiding hand in the lives of Your children. Help us to raise disciples that only reflect us in so much as we reflect You.”
Holy family of Nazareth, Pray for us.