How about the water of life?
How easy it is to take water for granted. For so many of us, all we have to do is go to the kitchen sink, the bathroom faucet or the dispenser in the door of the fridge, and we have available a seemingly endless stream of cool, clear, drinkable water. As can be the case with so many basic services – power, water, even wireless internet – we can easily find ourselves taking them for granted. It is only when the storm hits and the power goes out or water goes off that we realize, even for a brief time, how easy it is for us to take these basics for granted
The current water crisis in Flint and the ongoing efforts to bring safe water to that city have been in the minds and on the hearts of so many recently. It has been amazing to witness the generosity of communities within and outside of Michigan responding to Flint’s water crisis. As solutions to the problem continue to formulate, Flint’s need is still great. It is thanks to the diligence of people like Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint-area pediatrician, that the world is now aware of the plight of the people of Flint. It has served as a kind of wake-up-call, and made us realize it is all too easy to take safe, drinkable water for granted.
All of this has made me stop and think. How easily do we take another sort of water for granted – specifically, the water of baptism? This water – which can be found in our parish baptismal fonts and in the holy water stoops at most church doors – is the most vital water we have been given. Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated the scrutinies with our Elect – the adults and older children who were making the journey to baptism at the Easter Vigil. The very first of those scrutinies is built around the quest for life-giving water, as Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well. Initially, she is looking for water to drink. Following her encounter with the Lord, she leaves seeking the Water of Life. Jesus has stirred up in her the thirst for faith and for baptism.
So many of us were baptized as infants and have no recollection of our baptism beyond a few photos, and perhaps notes that might have been written to us at the time by our parents and godparents. The presence of our Elect and their quest for the waters of baptism are a powerful reminder that we should never take for granted the gift of life-giving water we were given in baptism.
So what are we to do? Here are some thoughts. First, take the time to look up the date of your baptism. You can find this on your baptismal certificate. If you don’t have your baptismal certificate, ask mom or dad – it could be in your baby book. Can’t find it? Call the parish of your baptism and have them send you a fresh copy. Don’t worry, this kind of request is something parish secretaries handle all the time. Once you know your baptismal date (mine is February 14), make sure to mark it on your calendar as a kind of “second birthday.” Then, make sure to celebrate it with family and friends. Go to Mass that day. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for your family’s faith, and the faith of your godparents and others who have helped you on your journey. Most of all, make sure to thank God for the gift of this life-giving water, and promise never to take it for granted. And so, our journey in FAITH continues.