Readings of the Day
After 40 days of penance and and a Triduum
commemorating service on Thursday and the sacrifice of death on Friday, the
Holy Saturday scriptures contain a number of references to and images of water
and baptism. All of our churches will be
blessing water at tonight’s liturgy to be used for in the coming months in
baptisms, funerals, and everytime we bless ourselves while entering our
churches and remembering our own baptism.
Some of us will be especially privileged to participate in a baptism
with this newly blessed water this very night.
The first reading, Genesis 1:1-2:2, the first
of two creation stories in our tradition, contains 11 references to water. We are reminded how foundational water is for
our created world. The third reading,
Exodus 14: 15-15:1, reaches its climax at the Red Sea, as the Israelites escape
the Egyptians when the waters of the sea are parted and the Egyptians are
drowned while chasing the Israelites.
The epistle, Romans 6: 3-11, is not only a Holy Saturday favorite, but
often read at Christian funerals. St.
Paul reminds us that we who were joined to Christ in baptism are also joined to
Christ in death, as a result of his death and resurrection to save us from our
While the water is being blessed for a year of
sacramental purposes in our churches this evening, take a moment to consider
how our ministry in Catholic Charities, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and our parishes brings the water of life to
those we encounter. We serve imported
water to disaster victims whose own water supply has been threatened by the
breakdown of communities’ water utilities; we provide showers and laundry
facilties in our overnight shelters to men, women, and children who have no
bathrooms or laundry rooms to meet their hygienic needs; our soup kitchens and
community meal programs use water to cook food that physically and socially
nourishes our guests; we brave Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico deserts to
deliver jugs of water to those seeking increased economic opportunity and
safety in the United States.
On this night of the blessing of this holy
water, I gift you with two of my favorite Holy Saturday songs for your
enjoyment this coming Easter season, “River
of Glory” by Dan Schutte and “Water
of Life” by Jaime Cortez. Happy Easter, Church; Happy Easter, People
Steve Herro is a Norbertine brother from
De Pere, Wisconsin; he actively participates in the liturgical life of his
Abbey, volunteers in several justice and outreach ministries, and is employed
by the Bay Area Community Council and Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of