Posted by: fvbcdm | April 1, 2014

Feast of Saint Hugh (1 April 2014)

We are now in the second half of the holy season of Lent, and are approaching the great feast of Easter when it is most appropriate to receive converts into the Church through baptism. After his death on the cross, Jesus rose to new life. And then he gave to his church the sacrament of baptism by which new people were to be received into his kingdom on earth. Thus we see that there is a natural connection between the resurrection of Christ, our celebration of it at Easter, and the sacrament of baptism.

Baptism is done with water. All life depends upon water. Without any water at all, no living thing can continue to live. This is the main symbolism of water in baptism. And on this Tuesday of the fourth week of Lent, we hear two passages from Sacred Scripture having to do with water. In the first, from the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, he sees a vision of water seeping out from under the door of the temple in Jerusalem. As it flowed, it became more abundant, eventually becoming a river which not only enabled the river banks to be very fertile and fruitful, but as it entered the sea, it sweetened the sea water into fresh, drinkable water. This miraculous water emanating from the temple symbolizes the life that God gives to us who adore and serve him. Jesus used the same figure of speech when he told the woman at the well in Samaria that he would give to those who ask him a special kind of water which, when we drink it, will well up within us in an inexhaustible fountain of fresh, clean, pure, thirst-slaking water.

Then in the gospel of today’s Mass, we find Jesus at the pool of Bethesda, where sick people used to gather hoping for a cure of their infirmities through the healing properties of the water. There he finds a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years. Our Lord tells the man to get up, and walk. The man does so. Thus does Jesus show that he has the power to heal this man, paralyzed for most, if not all, of his life.  And his power is greater and more instantaneous than any natural spring of water can accomplish. Our Divine Lord, foretold by the prophet Ezekiel and symbolized by the pool of Bethesda, is the divine author of life—material and spiritual, temporal and eternal. The sacrament of baptism inaugurates in us this citizenship in the kingdom of Christ and is the beginning of our pilgrimage to the everlasting mansion of God, our heavenly Father. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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