April 16, 2017
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
As I write this I have no idea what the weather will be like on Easter Sunday. I hope it will be a beautiful day and I know that in Florida there is more risk of rain in the afternoon than in the morning - but today you risk getting wet in church rather than outside. I will do my best to make sure that you come out of Mass wetter than when you went in, as I sprinkle the congregation with the water of the font which was blessed at the Easter Vigil.
Last night at the Vigil seventeen adults and older children were baptized (a large and wonderful number of new Christians for our parish). They were all old enough to make their own baptismal vows, committing themselves to reject Satan and believe in God, and today we all renew our baptismal commitment, affirming once again that we want to follow Jesus and live as Christians. After the homily I will say to you:
Dear brothers and sisters,
through the Paschal Mystery
we have been buried with Christ in Baptism,
so that we may walk with him in newness of life.
And so, now that our Lenten observance is concluded,
let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism,
by which we once renounced Satan and his works
and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.
Our English word “Easter” - which is probably of pagan rather than Christian origin - disguises the fact that we are celebrating the Paschal Mystery. The romance languages of Europe do it better, with Pascua (Spanish), Pasqua (Italian), Pâque (French) all expressing that Easter is the Christian Passover when we pass over with Christ from death to new life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of discipleship, from despair to hope, and from the empty promises of Satan to the real promises of God. That choice of life in Christ was first made for most of us when we were baptized as children. Today, and every Easter, the sprinkled water of the font is a sign of washing away the old and recommitting ourselves to the one who is always new and life-giving. This Easter Sunday morning probably no more than a few drops will reach you, but I encourage you in these days of Eastertide to collect water from the baptismal font, take it home and sprinkle it generously. Mark your home as a place where the presence of Christ dwells through you, his disciples, who promise “to serve God in the holy Catholic Church”. Happy Easter!