At the Easter Vigil those who have been preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation throughout the world will be baptized, confirmed, and receive their first communion. Others already baptized in another Christian denomination will make a profession of faith in the Catholic Church. (Unfortunately we don’t have any people making that profession this year here at the Church of the Transfiguration, we do stand in solidarity with those doing this in other places! Maybe this is something we can work on by inviting someone we know to share our faith!) Those of us who are already baptized Catholics will join them by renewing our baptismal commitment at the Vigil and on Easter Sunday. This renewal of our baptismal commitment takes the place of the usual Creed.
You may know that Lent first began as a time of preparation for those celebrating these sacraments for the first time. In time, those already baptized and initiated used Lent as a time of renewal of their commitment. Today, when parishes celebrate the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) we revive some of those ancient rituals and there are ceremonies throughout Lent called the Scrutinies and Presentations where those who will be initiated are presented, supported, and prayed for by the whole community.
For those of us already baptized and initiated, this renewal of our profession is where Lent is headed; it is the ritual we are preparing for. Everything we do during Lent - our prayer, sacrifices, fasting, abstaining, almsgiving - is meant to prepare us to make that renewal with fresh enthusiasm. I invite you to keep that renewal in mind, and think about it from time to time during this season. We will be asked “do you renounce sin and evil?” and “do you believe in the Father, Son, and Spirit? “ We will be invited to make a resounding “YES” to those questions. But that renewal and recommitment is not to be made lightly, without thought and reflection. It should be the fruit of this Lenten journey. We take time during these 40 days, joining Jesus in the desert, to think about what it concretely means for me, now, in my life. At the Easter celebrations that “YES” will emerge from hearts renewed and refreshed by these days. We will walk more deeply into the waters of our baptism, into our covenant with God. It may be an event from long ago, but is more alive and active than ever. Our recommitment might encourage others to join us. “Come on in,” we tell them, “the water’s fine!”