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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Thursday

"In the same instant you died and were born again; the saving water was both your tomb and your mother." The Jerusalem Catecheses

At the beginning of the 4th century, the church was faced with a huge catechetical task. The Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, and thousands of Romans wanted to be baptized. Whether their motives were pure is beside the point. The church had to catechize adults in large numbers for the first time.

The sermons and instructions of St. Cyril of Jerusalem are a marvelous tool in this regard. Written for adults as a way to help them understand and enter the mystery of faith, they are full of evocative images and metaphors. Today, in the office of readings, Cyril reminds his students not to think of the death to which Baptism calls us as a tomb, but as a womb in which we are being readied for new life in Christ. By dying to that which keeps us from God and God's love by plunging into the waters of baptism, we break through the waters of death into new life in Christ.

As the church evolves in the 21st century, we have a similar task. Helping Christians make sense of the virtual world of the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and so much more, is the work of contemporary catechesis. While we know that the church espouses enduring values, unless they are articulated in a way that makes sense to the people of this generation, we will lose them to the glitter of the world.

Today, ask yourself what you are doing to understand your faith more deeply.

Who was your best catechist?

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