The first reading from today’s Mass is the parting of the Red Sea and the people walking on the path to freedom, through the water that was divided by the breath of God. This reading brought me back to the Easter Vigil which couldn’t be celebrated this past Easter due to the pandemic and our being in lock down. How refreshing to read this today, in the heart of Summer, remembering the power of Baptism, the Sacrament that immersed us into the transforming power of Christ’s Death and Resurrection.
Water is what makes this Sacrament possible, evoking the walking through the waters of the sea in Exodus, the waters of the great Flood, the waters of the Jordan River, the place of John’s baptism, the water flowing from Christ’s side as he hung upon the Cross. Water is one of the most important, natural elements of life. Without water we die; if we have too much water we die.
It is said that any future world wide conflict or war will be about water, since it is so scarce in many parts of the world. Countless human beings ration their water on a daily basis. Fresh running water is a luxury for hundreds of millions of people, probably more. People are suffering and dying daily due to the lack of fresh, clean water.
We, in the West, have water in abundance, but even in America, there are places confronting the crisis of a lack of water. We are so fortunate in Chicago to be living next to a massive source of freshwater that is shared, gratefully, with people well beyond our area. We are so fortunate.
Let’s never take this natural gift for granted. Perhaps we can unite ourselves in spirit with those suffering throughout the world due to a lack of available water. Since bathing and showers are a luxury, we can respond by taking very short showers. We can refrain from keeping the water running out of the faucet for no reason. We can simply become more aware of our ability to have water that is good and fresh. This gratitude can unite us with those who struggle daily with the scarcity of water.
Baptism, through water, immersed us into the love of Christ that is meant to change how we live our lives. These life giving waters connect us to EVERY human being, so that we are all brothers and sisters to each other, which means we have a responsibility for each other’s well being.