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Friday, March 16, 2012

Sacraments celebrate Christ's life

Of all the events that sacraments can point to in the past (biblical events, Church traditions, events in one's own faith journey), the most important are events in the life of Christ. Tradition tells us that all of the sacraments were instituted by Christ. Indeed, they each have a real foundation in the life and ministry of Jesus. Each relates to stories and teachings of Jesus.

For example, Baptism calls to mind the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, and the way Jesus gathered a community around himself. It also reminds us of the command of the risen Lord to carry the gospel to others and to baptize them. Eucharist reminds us of the Last Supper. Those familiar with the Gospels are also reminded of other meals to which Jesus invited even those who were rejected by others. Reconciliation reminds us of Jesus' invitation to forgive one another, and of the way he forgave those who put him to death.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church ties together the many meanings of sacraments thus: "The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions" .

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