Bishop Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Lake Charles, Louisiana
February 14, 2016
Rite of Election
Welcome to all of you! I am so pleased to be with you as the Bishop of this Diocese of Lake Charles.
You are preparing for baptism. We say that Baptism is a sacrament by which you become a child of God. And that is true enough. But just as being a son or daughter in a family means more than just having a common family name, being a child of God implies much more.
Our Catholic Catechism says that “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit…, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.” The Catechism continues with what Baptism accomplishes. “Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission” (CCC #1213). Baptism is a rebirth. It is like getting “a new lease on life.” You are being given an opportunity to be reborn, to live anew, and to begin again.
Just as everything the Catholic Church teaches, believes and professes comes from Sacred Scripture, we find the idea of Baptismal rebirth in the Sacred Scriptures. St. Paul particularly speaks of it. In II Corinthians 5:17, we read, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” In Galatians (Galatians 6:15) St. Paul teaches that nothing is as important as becoming a “new creation.” No wonder Jesus told His apostles to go into all the world and baptize. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God. That means a new creation is coming about and that begins with Christ and ends with you and me.
Always remember the dignity that Baptism will give you. You are in the world but not of it. You are to be different. You are to show the world something it desperately needs: faith, hope, and love. You show the world this by the way you live.
Take an opportunity to read the First Letter of St. Peter. St. Peter is writing to newly baptized and given them advice. I will read you just a few verses. “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).
At Easter you will come, God willing, to the font of Baptism. There you will be reborn, and you will rise from the water as a “newborn infant.” You will taste “that the Lord is good” in the Eucharist. Your sins will be forgiven. You will be reconciled to God. God will call you to this moment in your life. You will be clothed with a new dignity.
Never forget the dignity of your Baptism.
Bishop Glen John Provost