Over the past few weeks I’ve mentioned the two most important aspects of Baptism: it makes a person a member of the community of the Church and it takes away sin.
What surprises me sometimes, though, is how many people seem to think that other aspects of the sacrament or its celebration are more important. For example, some get pre-occupied with the question of godparents.
Let=s make sure we know what godparents are: in the case of the Baptism of a child, the godparents witness the baptism and then “help him/her to live a proper Christian life and fulfill faithfully the duties of Baptism” (c. 872). This is mostly done by example, of course. Godparents do not necessarily always do nice things or give gifts to their godchild: sometimes the way to help a person live as a real Christian is to challenge, even punish! And in our country godparents certainly don=t “take over” if parents should die: secular laws regulate that sort of thing.
If someone ever asks you to be a godparent for their child, and if they really understand what they’re asking of you, first of all feel humble and then be very, very thankful. They’ve asked you to share just about the most precious thing we possess: a chance at eternal life with God! It’s a great honor but also a great responsibility to be chosen as worthy for such a noble task!