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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 2, 2023

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 Matthew 10:37-42

Today's second reading is probably my favorite Pauline scripture. For twenty years I had the privilege of walking with catechumens on their journey to baptism. At twenty Easter Vigils I heard this reading.

Sometimes I saw baptisms in which the catechumens leaned over a large bowl and had water poured over their heads. At other times the catechumens, one by one, stepped into a wading pool, and knelt down as pitchers of water were emptied over them. All of those were moving celebrations.

But the first time we used the baptismal pool we all knew deeply what it meant to be baptized into the death of Christ Jesus.

Under water there is no air. Under water you cannot breathe. Too long under water and you die. It was easy to understand that these new Christians, emerging from the baptismal pool, the tomb and womb of the church, were born into new life.

“Dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”

What about those of us whose baptism occurred many years ago? 30, 40,50,… 70 years ago ? When we pass the baptismal pool and bless ourselves with its water, does that gesture remind us that we are dead to sin and alive for God in Jesus?

Today’s gospel reminds us that this new life requires taking up our cross and following Jesus. And, counterintuitively, that what feels like dying is in fact the pangs of new birth.

Every time we partake of Eucharist we pledge ourselves to becoming,

like Jesus, bread broken and wine poured out. Though our baptism is never repeated, each Sunday we can recommit ourselves to this new life when we receive the Eucharist.

He is really present for us so that … alive for God in Christ Jesus…we can carry his presence into our world.

by: Pat Schnee

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