by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
Have you ever received good news that you couldn't wait to share? The Acts of the Apostles recounts a similar event. Filled with joy and the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas "spoke out boldly" in Antioch about Jesus who had been raised up. When the Jews seemed to be closed-hearted, Paul and Barnabas turned to the Gentiles who responded to their proclamation of good news in great numbers.
St. John describes his vision of the "great multitude" from every nation, race, people and tongue whom the Lamb of God "shepherds and leads to springs of living waters." God's gifts are given to all people, not a select or chosen few. The Good Shepherd says to everyone: "I know you and give you eternal life."
This week as we celebrate Earth Week, may each of us "speak out boldly" the good news that Jesus is alive and continually renews all creation. It is He who makes it possible for us to be Brother and Sister to all God has created and to preserve its fruits for all generations. "What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?" the Good Shepherd may ask of us (The Wind, One Brilliant Day by Antonio Machado). Like St. Francis of Assisi may we join creation in its song of praise to God.
chapter 15, US Catholic Catechism for Adults
by Sister Mary Kabat
Baptism is the first Sacrament of three in the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. These three Sacraments form the foundation of our Christian life.
Jesus himself submitted to the baptism of John the Baptist before he began his public ministry. After his Resurrection, Jesus commissioned the Apostles, "Go throughout the whole world and preach the Gospel to all people. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." (Mk 16:15)
In Baptism we "die" to sin - Original or actual - and "rise" to a new life with God. Through Baptism we are freed from our sins, receive the grace of divine adoption, become a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit, are initiated into the Church and made a sharer in Christ's mission as priest, prophet and king.