CCC 537 Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. The Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and “walk in newness of life”:1
Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.2
Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God.3
CCC 628 Baptism, the original and full sign of which is immersion, efficaciously signifies the descent into the tomb by the Christian who dies to sin with Christ in order to live a new life. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”4
CCC 648 Christ’s Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father’s power “raised up” Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as “Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”.5 St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God’s power6 through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus’ dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.
CCC 730 At last Jesus’ hour arrives:7 he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands8 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,”9 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples.10 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”11
CCC 790 Believers who respond to God’s word and become members of Christ’s Body, become intimately united with him: “In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification.”12 This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ’s death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which “really sharing in the body of the Lord,. .. we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.”13
CCC 977 Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”14 Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.”15
CCC 1006 “It is in regard to death that man’s condition is most shrouded in doubt.”16 In a sense bodily death is natural, but for faith it is in fact “the wages of sin.”17 For those who die in Christ’s grace it is a participation in the death of the Lord, so that they can also share his Resurrection.18
CCC 1085 In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father “once for all.”19 His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.
CCC 1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with him:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.20
The baptized have “put on Christ.”21 Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.22
CCC 1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord.23 Following Christ and united with him,24 Christians can strive to be “imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love”25 by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the “mind. .. which is yours in Christ Jesus,”26 and by following his example.27
CCC 1697 Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ.28 Catechesis for the “newness of life”29 in him should be:
– a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects, and strengthens this life;
– a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;
– a catechesis of the beatitudes, for the way of Christ is summed up in the beatitudes, the only path that leads to the eternal beatitude for which the human heart longs;
– a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, for unless man acknowledges that he is a sinner he cannot know the truth about himself, which is a condition for acting justly; and without the offer of forgiveness he would not be able to bear this truth;
– a catechesis of the human virtues which causes one to grasp the beauty and attraction of right dispositions towards goodness;
– a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, generously inspired by the example of the saints;
– a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity set forth in the Decalogue;
– an ecclesial catechesis, for it is through the manifold exchanges of “spiritual goods” in the “communion of saints” that Christian life can grow, develop, and be communicated.
CCC 1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” and through Baptism:30
But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.31
1 Rom 6:4.
2 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 9: PG 36, 369.
3 St. Hilary of Poitiers, In Matth. 2, 5: PL 9, 927.
4 Rom 6:4; cf. Col 2:12; Eph 5:26.
5 Rom I 3-4; cf. Acts 2:24.
6 Cf. Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 7:16.
7 Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
8 Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.
9 Rom 6:4.
10 Cf. Jn 20:22.
11 Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.
12 LG 7.
13 LG 7; cf. Rom 6:4-5; 1 Cor 12:13.
14 Mk 16:15-16.
15 Rom 6:4; Cf. 4:25.
16 GS 18.
17 Rom 6:23; cf. Gen 2:17.
18 Cf. Rom 6:3-9; Phil 3:10-11.
19 Rom 6:10; Heb 7:27; 9:12; cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
20 Rom 6:3-4; cf. Col 2:12.
21 Gal 3:27.
22 CE 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13.
23 Rom 6:11 and cf. 6:5; cf. Col 2:12.
24 Cf. Jn 15:5.
25 Eph 5:1-2.
26 Phil 2:5.
27 Cf. Jn 13:12-16.
28 Cf. John Paul II, CT 29.
29 Rom 6:4.
30 Rom 3:22; cf. 6:3-4.
31 Rom 6:8-11.