The last day of the Nativity Season - the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord - helps us to focus on our own Baptism and its value, meaning and the newness of life it brings.
In particular I think about the four basic rights flowing out of the Holy Baptism. These rights we tend to neglect or forget. And that is why we live sometimes like we live - in contradiction to our dignity we received in the Baptism.
First right - the right to call God - Father. The sanctifying grace we receive in the Baptism fills us with Divine Life and make us one with God and the family of His children. We no longer pray to the Creator, to God Almighty, to 'Rex Tremendae Maiestatis". Since the moment of our Baptism we pray with confidence and inner joy and pride to our Father, who loves us and His mercy is infinite.
Second right - the right to approach the altar and receive the Most Holy Eucharist. The Life of the Father in us in sanctifying grace is strengthened and elevated even higher - when we unite ourselves with Living Jesus in Eucharist. And Jesus in Eucharist is the Guarantor that f we stay in unity with Him, our earthly journey will reach eventually the House of the Father in Heaven.
Third right - the right to be part of the living community of the faithful and to be taken care of by the community. We, the baptized, have our obligation to the community of the Church as its living members. But at the same time we have the right to be looked after the community - in good and bad times. No one in any stage of one's life must ever feel lonely, sidelined, excluded in the community of the baptized. Even when the one's house falls down because of the flood or heavy rains as we see sometimes in our communities here in Africa - everybody should come to help as much as they can to make the affected feel loved and taken care of.
Fourth right - the inheritance right. The right to Heaven. The right to the housing prepared for each and every one of us by Jesus in Father's House in Heaven. This is not a place that we will be rented or made to pay for it. This will be our place forever. Wonderful place. The moment of death for the baptized is no longer a reality which scares us. It is only a passage to eternal life in happiness where everyone is assured of one's own dwelling for eternity.
The problem is - when I commit a grave sin, I lose all these rights. In the Year of Mercy we should reflect upon the majesty of our dignity as Children of God, baptized in the name of the Triune God. We should return to the total faithfulness to our Baptismal Vows through genuine penance and reconciliation.
May God our Father help us to rediscover the value of our Baptism today and to help us to defend the dignity of being a child of God who enjoys the fullness of these four rights.