For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.
The practice of baptism was a common rite of initiation in many religious expressions in the ancient Mediterranean world. From the time of Jesus, Christianity also expressed through water baptism freedom from sin, union with Jesus Christ and all other baptized persons, our participation in the salvific death and resurrection of Jesus and our new life in the Spirit.
St. Paul, the first great theologian of baptism, expressed its meaning in terms of a break with the old and beginning of new life in Christ. He understood well the reality of the relationship that baptism establishes between us and God and his Son Jesus. The New Testament provides the basis and focal point for the Church—s understanding of baptism.