As I prepare to present the parish mission at St. John's Cathedral in Milwaukee this weekend, I have been thinking more and more about baptism and all the things that have happened this week.
Several years ago, while I was still a parishioner at Saint James Parish here in Chicago and part of the RCIA team, I spoke with one of the people that was to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. It was Holy Saturday morning and we had just finished the preparation rites. I looked into the eyes of Brendan, a twenty-something brilliant engineering student, and said, "You know, Brendan, tomorrow morning when you wake up and you open your eyes, the world is going to look a lot different." With a kind of child-like innocence, he looked at me and said, "Really? Why?"
And I responded, "Because tonight, at the moment of your baptism, we are all going to sing an acclamation. The words are 'You have put on Christ, in him you have been baptized.' And from that moment on, because you have put on Christ, you will see the world with the eyes of Christ. And when you do that you will begin noticing and seeing things you have never noticed or seen before. Things will look different to you and will call forth a different kind of response from your mind and heart."
Brendan kind of looked at me quizzically.
A few weeks later, he caught me after Mass and said, "Jerry, remember that thing you told me about a few weeks ago? The thing about seeing the world differently?" "Yes," I said. "Well," Brendan went on, "I think it's slowly starting to happen." We both just smiled.
With all that has gone on this week, from prisons to refugees, I have this sense that it's happening all over again for me, too.
Please pray for the parishioners of the Cathedral in Milwaukee, that this parish mission will help them see in a new way as well.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.