bath and body
"She decided to bathe." —Daniel 13:15
Today's first reading is more than a story of good triumphing over evil. It's an Old Testament preview of Baptism. When Susanna enters her bath (Dn 13:17-18), she is surrounded by the powers of evil, as represented by the two corrupt elders. Susanna is immersed in a dilemma of whether to save her life by yielding to evil or to cling to holiness and purity at the cost of her life (Dn 13:22). Susanna rises from her bath determined to trust in God, saying to the evil judges, "It is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord" (Dn 13:23).
Susanna rose from the waters of her bath free, pure, and victorious over the kingdom of darkness. As we are baptized, we emerge from the waters of Baptism redeemed and uncondemned (see Rm 8:1). Most of us were baptized as infants. We can't remember emerging from the waters free and victorious. In her wisdom, the Church therefore calls us to regularly renew our Baptisms. This makes our Baptism new and alive for us. Just as important, it challenges us to live our Baptism in a new, holy, and faith-filled lifestyle.
In a few weeks, you will renew your Baptism at Easter Vigil and/or Easter Sunday Mass. As Susanna did, make the decision to entrust your life completely to the Lord. Prepare now to renew your Baptism. Reject sin and Satan. Hunger and thirst for holiness (Mt 5:6). Refuse to compromise with the kingdom of darkness in any way, even if you must endure persecution for holiness' sake (see Mt 5:10). Choose to be pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3).
Prayer: Jesus, you gave up Your body for me (Lk 22:19). I give up my body for You. Be glorified in my body (1 Cor 6:20).
Promise: "The Lord is my Shepherd...Beside restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul." —Ps 23:1-3
Praise: Susan and her family celebrate their Baptismal anniversaries every year.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 2016
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