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Tuesday, July 24, 2001

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Exodus 14:21—15:1
Exodus 15:8-10, 12, 17
Matthew 12:46-50

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baptism as life

"The Israelites had marched on dry land through the midst of the sea, with the water like a wall to their right and to their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel on that day." —Exodus 14:29-30

The Church requires that today's first reading be read at Easter Vigil, the most important liturgical service of the year. The Church emphasizes this reading from Exodus because in an exceptional way it prefigures Baptism, and Baptism is the greatest event in our lives. Only at Baptism do we receive a new nature and become adopted sons and daughters of God. At Baptism, we become sharers in the divine nature (2 Pt 1:4) and heirs of God's kingdom (Rm 8:17). We become holy, royal, priestly.

"Are you not aware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Rm 6:3) Pope John Paul II has taught: "It is no exaggeration to say that the entire existence of the lay faithful has as its purpose to lead a person to a knowledge of the radical newness of the Christian life that comes from Baptism" (The Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People, 10). Pope John Paul II has also taught that every Christian needs "to grasp and live the immense, extraordinary richness and responsibility received at Baptism" (Lay Members, 61).

Life is the discovery of the effects of Baptism. At each of our funeral Masses, the priest will sprinkle our "earthly remains" with the holy water which recalls our Baptism. Unless we are cremated, He will cover our casket with the pall which recalls our baptismal garment. In life and in death, know and live your Baptism in its "immense, extraordinary richness and responsibility."

Prayer:  Father, may I make as many disciples of Jesus as possible and help them to live their Baptism.

Promise:  "Whoever does the will of My heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to Me." —Mt 12:50

Praise:  Edward, once a Jehovah's Witness, now acknowledges Jesus as God.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 24, 2001