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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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Bl. Junipero Serra

Genesis 21:5, 8-20
Psalm 34:7-8, 10-13
Matthew 8:28-34

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baptismal awareness

"As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a great nation of him also, since he too is your offspring." —Genesis 21:13

After wandering around in the desert until she ran out of water, Hagar put her child, Ishmael, under a bush and walked a short distance away so she wouldn't see him die (Gn 21:14-16). When the child began to cry, God sent a messenger to rescue the child and his mother by providing water for them (Gn 21:17-19). The Lord did this because Ishmael was Abraham's child (Gn 21:13).

Abraham was the father of the chosen people. Like Ishmael, all Abraham's children are heirs of God's promises to the chosen people. That's why the first words of the New Testament establish Jesus as a child of Abraham (Mt 1:1). We also have become spiritual children of Abraham by faith in Jesus (Rm 4:16) and by Baptism. Therefore, we inherit God's promises.

This should make us aware of the importance of our Baptism (see Rm 6:3). Because we're baptized, we can live with the Lord forever in heaven (Mk 16:16), receive Holy Communion, go to Confession, live as brothers and sisters to Christ and His family, have God live within us, etc.

To become more aware of our Baptism, we should renew our baptismal promises at Mass on Easter Sunday and other times. We should celebrate the anniversary of our Baptism annually and use holy water daily. We should rejoice in and live our Baptism by which we became children of God, children of Abraham, and heirs of God's promises to the chosen people.

Prayer:  Father, may I lead someone this week to Jesus and Baptism.

Promise:  "Come, children, hear me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." —Ps 34:12

Praise:  Bl. Junipero Serra, a Spanish priest, burned with the desire to be a missionary. He longed to carry the gospel to those who had never heard of God (see Rm 15:20). He brought the good news to the New World, and baptized over six thousand people.

Reference:  (For more teaching, order our leaflet, Lent and the Renewal of Our Baptismal Promises.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2014

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