From the Pastor-14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A-July 9, 2017

From the Pastor



14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A



July 9, 2017



We take a break from our saintly reflections to ponder two of the three options for blessing water. [Next year we’ll review the third option, which is reserved for Eastertime.] Why bless water? We bless ‘ordinary’ things like water, sites, images, rooms, etc., to ‘set them aside’ for a ‘holy’ purpose. Consider some of the ways God used water
in biblical times.


God’s Spirit hovered over the primordial waters
of creation, giving them life; the waters
of the great Flood destroyed wickedness and marked a new beginning; both the Red Sea and Jordan River parted so Israel could walk dry-shod through the waters, freeing them from slavery and death; Jesus was baptized in the Jordan; blood and water
flowed from His side as He hung upon the Cross; and the Risen Lord told the disciples to baptize all people with water.


The sacred liturgy ‘makes present’ or ‘re-presents’ the many ways God worked in times past TODAY – here and now – in the signs and symbols of the Sacraments – and in sacramentals like holy water. So we do not merely ‘dip our finger’ in holy water
or get sprinkled by it. Holy water
enables us to touch the very same waters mentioned above … and then some! Here’s how the Priest begins Blessing of Water
at Mass:


The Blessing of Water – Introduction


Dear brothers and sisters, let us humbly

beseech the Lord our God to bless this water

he has created, which will be sprinkled on us

as a memorial of our Baptism.

May he help us by his grace to remain

faithful to the Spirit we have received.


A MEMORIAL OF BAPTISM. Baptism cannot be redone [it is a once-a-lifetime, once-forever experience] but it can be renewed, as we do on Easter in the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. The Church also ‘swamps’ us [pun intended] with a flood [ditto] of reminders of the waters
of Baptism. Vessels of holy water or stoups, affixed near church entranceways – some with flowing water – date back to the earliest centuries; by the 500’s they started becoming more common; some were even reserved for clergy and nobility only! The optional custom of adding blessed salt to holy water may be rooted in Jesus’ words “You are the salt of the earth.” {Matthew 5:13] but probably served a simple purpose: it kept slime and other things from growing in the font or stoup. Here’s the Blessing of Water
Option A:


Blessing of Water – Option A


Almighty ever-living God, who willed that through water, the fountain of life

and the source of purification, even souls

should be cleansed and receive the gift

of eternal life; be pleased, we pray,

to + bless this water, by which we seek protection on this your day, O Lord.

Renew the living spring of your grace within us and grant that by this water we may

be defended from all ills of spirit and body,

and so approach you with hearts made clean

and worthily receive your salvation.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


As Jesus told the Woman at the Well: “The water I shall give will become in [you] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:14b]
Option A for the Blessing of Water
[which should sound very familiar … for we’ve used it for years for our Eastertime Rite of Sprinkling … with slight adaptation since the water was already blessed at the Easter Vigil Mass] highlights how holy water has the potential, potent power to help us make our faith come alive. Consider some of this oration’s poetic and theological themes.


With holy water: bodies and souls are cleansed and purified; protection is promised or provided; God’s gifts or graces are renewed; the forces of temptation and of evil are repelled or lessened; our minds and hearts are made clean; channels are opened, through which God’s saving power can quench our spiritual thirsts – and whet our appetite for even help from on high. And you just thought you were dipping a finger into – or just getting sprinkling with – a few drops of water! May our better understanding of our Sacraments and sacramentals help us grow in faith! Springs of water, bless the Lord!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS