We woke up this morning to no water in our house. We couldn't use the sinks, toilets or hose. We checked the sump pump and the breakers. (I was very glad this morning that I had prepped the coffee maker the night before.) Finally, it occurred to us that we should call the water company. It turns out that there was a water main break on the next road over. As such, I rushed to the store to buy many gallons of water so that we could at least brush our teeth and flush the toilets. Did you know that it takes 1 gallon of water to flush the toilet only once? That's a lot of water!
We got ourselves as ready as we could for the day and took the kids to dance class, Tae Kwon Do and a soccer game. We grabbed lunch while we were out and were gone for 4 hours. After sitting in 80+ degree heat at the soccer field, we were hoping for the best when we returned home. We really needed showers, to do the laundry, to clean the house, to clean the fish tank and water the plants. As we turned down the road toward our house, we saw water bubbling up from the street. Our hearts sank. However, we when we came home and turned on the kitchen faucet, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we finally had our water restored after 12 hours without water! I immediately yelled, "Quick! Everyone take a shower, wash the dishes and start the laundry in case we lose the water again!" Without a doubt, we realized how much we relied on water as a natural resource.
Of course, this lack of water situation got me thinking. What about the spiritual water from our baptism? What about the blood and water that spilled forth from the side of Christ so that His mercy could flow out into the world?
Every Sacrament must have a form and a matter. The form for the Sacrament of Baptism is "I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The matter of the Sacrament of Baptism is the immersion or sprinkling of water. The baptismal promises that we make out that we reject Satan and all his promises. We also vow to follow Christ by invoking the Holy Spirit.
Let's look at the baptism of Jesus. We see that when John baptized Jesus it was the beginning of Christ's public ministry. During the Jesus' baptism, St. John was declaring to all that this man that he was baptizing was Son of the One True God; that he was the one, the Messiah, that the Israelites had been waiting for. Of course, we remember that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and announced, "This is my Son with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17) These announcements by St. John and the Holy Spirit are important because they "set the stage" before Jesus begins his most important public ministry.
Let's fast forward a few years to when Jesus is on the Cross and his side is pierced by a Roman soldier (centurion) by the name of Longinus. Longinus was nearly blind but was ordered to thrust a spear into the side of Christ to ensure that our Lord was truly dead. The blood and water that flowed from the side of Christ instantly healed Longinus' blindness. At once, Longinus declared, "Indeed, this was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39) Longinus, immediately converted, left the army, took instructions from the Apostles and became a Monk. Longinus was later arrested, tortured and beheaded. He was a martyr and was canonized to become St. Longinus.
In the 21st century, it is a first world problem to take advantage of the natural resource of water. We don't realize how much we need and rely on it until it's gone. But do we realize how much we need and rely on our baptismal promises? Do we reflect on if we are keeping our promises? Are we truly rejecting Satan and all of his empty promises? Or are we slaves to money and material needs that never satisfy our hunger and thirst for true life-giving joy?
The following prayer is part of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy that St. Faustia communicated in her diary as a result of her conversation with Christ. This prayer is known as the 3 o'clock prayer as 3 o'clock is the time that we acknowledge that Christ died on the Cross. As Christ died on the Cross for our sins, may we die to this world and live in the holiness of Christ!
O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you! Amen.
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