From our New Testament reading today, from 1 Timothy: ‘But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses’.

This text refers to Baptism. Here is St Cyril of Jerusalem: ‘First ye entered into the vestibule of the Baptistery, and there facing towards the West ye listened to the command to stretch forth your hand, and as in the presence of Satan ye renounced him. … Now turn from the old to the new … The tyrant of old was drowned in the sea; and this present one disappears in the water of salvation. … After these things, you were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried from the Cross to the Sepulchre which is before our eyes. And each of you was asked, whether he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and you made that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and ascended again; here also hinting by a symbol at the three days burial of Christ. … And at the self-same moment you were both dying and being born; and that Water of salvation was at once your grave and your mother. And what Solomon spoke of others will suit you also; for he said, in that case, There is a time to bear and a time to die; but to you, in the reverse order, there was a time to die and a time to be born; and one and the same time effected both of these, and your birth went hand in hand with your death.’

Many of us have no memory of our Baptism, having been baptised at children. The grace of the sacrament is nonetheless present in us all our life. May we be aware of it, and draw from it all that we need, for it is there.

May God bless you this day.