Did Jesus really mean water to be essential for the Baptism He instituted? He did. When He
started His public life Jesus came down and stood in water, in the River Jordan, where John was
baptizing. He wanted, thereby, to let us know what Baptism was to mean in the Catholic Church
forevermore. Baptizing forever means pouring water on you, or sprinkling you with water, or
dipping you in water.
As John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus, John said to Him, “I ought to be baptized by thee, and
comest thou to me?” Then Jesus said, “Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all
justice.” (Matt. 3:14,15.)
Unfulfilled justice is the state of justification. Fulfilled justice is the state of salvation. What
Jesus is saying to us, at His own baptism by John in the River Jordan, is that justification is now
being turned into salvation with the aid of water.
Jesus goes so far as to praise and belittle John the Baptist in terms of this very rite of Baptism.
He says of John the Baptist, “Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born
of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the Kingdom of Heaven is
greater than he.” (Matt. 11:11.) John the Baptist’s greatness came not from being born in the
state of justification. It came from being admitted into the Kingdom of Christ in salvation.
If Jesus was baptized with water to fulfill all justice, how shall we have justice fulfilled in us
without Baptism of Water?
There are only three birthdays commemorated by the Church in the liturgical year. All other
saints in Heaven are commemorated on the days of their death. The three birthdays the Catholic
Church celebrates are those of Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist. The crown of these three
birthdays, of course, is the birth of Christ, the born One, Who was born for the rebirth of the
The eighth of September is the most beautiful human birthday in the whole year. It is the
birthday of Mary, the Mother of God. June twenty-fourth is the birthday of the most beautiful
sheerly human boy that could be. It is the birthday of Saint John the Baptist, who was sanctified
in his mother’s womb, when Mary, with Jesus in her womb, visited Elizabeth.
Mary gave birth to Jesus. John the Baptist baptized Him. Baptism is a virginal birth, and Jesus’
birth was for a virginal Baptism. Birth and Baptism go together in Christian regeneration, and in
Christian salvation. Natural birth is belittled in terms of baptismal birth. Jesus calls Baptism,
“being born again of water and the Holy Ghost.”
If in admiration of the power of water in Baptism, you are going to ask me, “How do you expect
water to do so much?, I cannot answer you. I would never ask water to do so much. I would
never think of that. But Jesus has asked water to do so much! As a matter of fact, He has asked
water to do so much that when He gives the components of our foundational Sacrament — one
of earth and one of Heaven — even though you might think it irreverent, Jesus mentions the
water first and the Holy Ghost second! “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy
Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:5.) That is how important water is!
Without Baptism of Water, you never can receive any of the other sacraments. All the Apostles
had to be baptized. They were not in the state of mortal sin. But, they had to be baptized. From
this need we can see the difference between justification and salvation.
I have told you this many times: Were I not to have been baptized by water, my ordination to the
priesthood would be invalid. Suppose I never knew I had not been baptized? Well, I would never
know I was not a priest. That is how important Baptism of Water is.
Can you not have Holy Orders of Desire? No! Are the Sacraments being tampered with in the
United States today? Yes! Is the Faith practically gone? Yes!
When the Holy Ghost came down at Pentecost and flooded the first Christians with light,
probably many made perfect acts of love. Why did Saint Peter add Baptism of Water? Why did
he say, “Do penance, and be baptized every one of you!” (Acts 2:38.) Why did he undertake to
baptize three thousand people in one day?
Why, as we learn in the Acts of the Apostles, was Saint Paul struck down by a blinding light and
told to go over to Damascus and have water poured on his head? Why was Cornelius at Caesarea
told to send for Saint Peter, and why was Saint Philip transported to Gaza to baptize the
Ethiopian eunuch? Why were these baptizing’s necessary? Why all this “waste” of water and
Why did Saint Martin of Tours raise a catechumen from the dead, and baptize him? Why did the
North American martyrs come over here, if unbaptized Indians could make perfect acts of love?
The Indians poured scalding hot water on one of the North American martyrs, Saint John de
Brebeuf, by way of ridiculing the Baptism of Water he was preaching. Why did the Church allow
this torture to be provoked, if the waters of Baptism are non-essential to Indian salvation?
Do not think, my dear children, that the waters of the world, which God took such great care in
making and arranging in the initial days of creation, were not made for some supreme purpose.
They were not made for mere reservoir reasons. They were made for redemptional reasons. They
were meant to be the waters of salvation. And that is why, for all the monotonous simplicity that
that water has in itself, God the Father has given it such variety and importance.
There is not one place in the world where you could go and say, even to the most ignorant native,
“You must be baptized by water and the Holy Ghost,” and hear him reply, “What is water?”
Water is the greatest physical need our nature has by way of refreshment. When men lie on the
hot sands of the desert, parched and feverish, they do not cry out for money or gold or diamonds
or any fantastic forms of food. They cry for water.
Water is somehow the history of the world: in the Flood; in the passage of the Chosen People
through the Red Sea; and in all journeys, discoveries and explorations. It is impossible to spoil
water, for no matter how much filth you pour into it, you need only drop it on the earth and let it
sink into the ground, and it will purify itself and return to you in the spring and fountain, as pure
and virginal as it was originally created.
Indescribable as this essentially colorless, odorless, tasteless, and unshaped substance is, God lets
it roam through our world in all manners and varieties so as to give interest and color and light to
our thoughts and prepare them for the initial overture of salvation. A dehydrated mind cannot
function physically, cannot think imaginatively, and cannot be saved in apostolic challenge.
“As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God!” (Ps.
Water supplies us with a whole reservoir of thoughts and words so that Christianity shall have a
vocabulary which the world could never improve on. Water is the brook and the well and the
spring and the fountain and the pond and the lake and the river and the gulf and the strait and the
bay and the sea and the ocean. Yes, and water is the whirlpool and the eddy and the falls and the
torrent and the geyser. It is surf, foam, breaker, wave, roller, brine, mist, dew. It is hail, snow,
frost, slush, and sleet. It is ice, icicle, and iceberg; rainbow, cloud, and steam. The swimmer
dives and splashes in it. The sailor travels on it. Water is what makes things damp, wet, and
soggy; and it sprinkles the world, laves it, and rinses it, for there is never an end to what it can
Water is one of the world’s greatest natural mysteries. And when God’s only Begotten Son,
Jesus Christ, entered our world to talk our language and take us on our own terms, He used as the
first instrument of our sanctification that which was most natural for us to know and understand.
He saw water all around us and did not despise it. He turned it into the child’s Sacrament, the
same Jesus who said, “Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter
into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 18:3.) He took water and sanctified it with spiritual power.
He transformed it into the Sacrament of Baptism, by the union of water and the Holy Ghost.
When Christ died on the Cross, and the centurion pierced His side with a spear, there flowed out
blood and water. (John 19:34.) All Christ’s blood flowed out for our salvation. A little water
followed, to indicate the simple requirement of Baptism. Imagine blood and water ever having
any higher meaning in the whole of Holy Scripture than they have as they flow from the Sacred
Heart of Jesus.
Saint John, the beloved disciple, was the one who saw this blood and water flow from the heart
of Our Saviour after He had died:
John 19:35. And he that saw it, hath given testimony; and his testimony is true. And he
knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe.
It is the same Beloved Disciple who concludes his beautiful revelation from God known as the
Apocalypse, with these words and so ends the whole of Holy Scripture:
Apoc 22:1. And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from
the throne of God and of the Lamb…
- He that hurteth, let him hurt still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he
that is just, let him be justified still: and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still…
- Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have
a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.
- Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of
idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.
- I Jesus have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the
root and stock of David, the bright and morning star.
- And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that heareth, let him say: Come. And
he that thirsteth, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely.
- For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any
man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book.
- And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these
things that are written in this book.
- He that giveth testimony of these things, saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come,
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.