Our Baptism Faith: Pass it on

Right from its very beginning, Christianity has been characterised by a movement of tradition. When most Catholics are asked what tradition means they tend to say it’s something you cling on to, something you keep. But the primary meaning of the word is quite the opposite: Tradition is not something we keep, but something we hand on. The word Tradition comes from the Latin verb tradere which means to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.
When Saint Paul summarised his preaching to the Corinthians he told them: “I taught you what I had been taught myself” (I Corinthians 15:3). That is tradition in action. When we don’t want to lose what we love, we hand it over. Otherwise when we die there will be a double funeral, for us and for the thing we love!
Christianity is always just a generation away from extinction: If we do not hand on what we believe and love to a new generation then Christianity will be reduced to a museum piece, just a memory of what people once believed and practised. Christianity has always depended on people (parents especially) passing on their faith so that others may share the life they cherish. This is the basis behind the new programmes of sacramental preparation which our Archdiocese has embarked upon with parents.
This Year of Faith challenges us all to share our belief with our families, our friends and all we meet. And we don’t have to become street preachers to do this; we can do it quietly in what Pope Paul VI called “wordless witness”:
Through this wordless witness these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live. Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one.” (Pope Paul VI: Evangelii Nuntiandi, 21)