Daily Homily, Wednesday of the 23 Week in OT, Year II
“Have you been born again?” Certainly this is question that anyone who lives among a lot of evangelical Christians has heard at one time or another. It is usually the flip-side of “Have you been saved?”
When we Catholics hear the question, “Have you been born again” it can give us great pause. It is not a question that is normally part of our religious dialogue. Yet, “being born” in Baptism, as evidenced in today’s reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, is very much a part of our theology. We simply understand it in a different sense than that of the evangelical.
Paul writes and the Church teaches that one is in fact “born again” by virtue of one’s baptism. In baptism, we die with Christ and rise with Him to new life. In baptism, we enter the tomb with Him and are recreated as new beings in Him. But while we are now of Christ, we are also still of this world and so our full salvation in Him is not yet at hand. That only comes at the end of our life in this world when we are found worthy by Christ to enter eternal life.
So St Paul encourages the people of Colossia to conduct themselves as people of the “new way” and to put to death those things that are of the earth. For Paul and for the Church, salvation is a “yes – but” reality: “yes” I have been born again, “but” I am still a work in progress – progressing towards the Lord – with the help of the grace of the Spirit I received in baptism, the teaching of the Church, the Words of Scripture, in the life of the Sacraments, in the midst of the People of God.