Pastor’s Corner for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

This week the residents of Johannesburg were reminded of the importance of water, and the infrastructure that we take for granted… until we don’t have it, or the infrastructure is broken. Not only is access to water a human right enshrined in our constitution, but it is also a sign and symbol of God’s love for his people. The story of our salvation history can be told through the language of water, as the blessing of baptismal water shows. Next weekend this blessing will be used when we baptise 13 children, making them Sons and daughters of God, part of the Body of Christ, part of the Community we call Church.


Blessing of the Waters of Baptism

Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.

In baptism, we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament.

At the very dawn of creation, your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness.

The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.

Through the waters of the Red Sea, you led Israel out of slavery, to be an image of God’s holy people, set free from sin by baptism.

In the waters of the Jordan, your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Spirit.

Your Son willed that water and blood should flow from his side as he hung upon the cross.

After his resurrection, he told his disciples: “Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Father, look now with love upon your church and unseal for her the fountain of baptism.

By the power of the Holy Spirit give to the water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit.

We ask you, Father, with your Son to send the Holy Spirit upon the waters of this font. May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Bruce Botha SJ