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The Signs of Easter – Water and Baptism

It makes sense that the sacraments of Christian initiation take place at the Easter Vigil. The sign of the water —the immersion, the bath— is a sacramental expression of how a person is incorporated to Christ in His passing from death to life.

For the past few years we have lived with a strange weather situation: great drought and major flooding. Water, so necessary for life, is scarce. Yet, when water overflows, it can carry destruction.

The ancient Jewish people seeks freedom from Egypt, and obtains it by crossing the Red Sea. Passing through the water becomes a sign: it reflects death to slavery and opens a new path to freedom. Jesus, by His life and His death, starts the history of a new people, the Church, the community of His followers. It is thus that the water of Baptism becomes for Jesus’ followers a sign of passing from death to life, from selfishness to love, from the “I” to the “we”.

Today is the feast of feasts, the day of Christ the Lord par excellence. Today, Jesus, victorious over death and sin, makes Himself present to His own. Today He makes Himself known, by the breaking of the bread, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus; today He bestows the Holy Spirit on the apostles for the forgiveness of sins, and He sends them out into the world to be His witnesses. It is for this reason that we sing “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!” (Psalm 117).