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Friday, March 3 (3:3)

Galatians: Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?

No one does baptisms like Father Frank at St. Teresa of Avila Church in Chicago. One of the focal points of the church is the baptismal font. Its octagonal shape signifies the eighth day of creation. The way Father Frank explained it is that God created heaven and earth in six days. On the seventh day, He rested. The eighth day is when God and humanity are reunited. It is heaven on earth, the second coming, where every day is Easter, and we all are one.

Father Frank refers to Baptism as one of the most important sacraments because it happens at the beginning (usually) of the life journey (camino). When the Holy Spirit descends upon the infant, they become part of the body of Christ.

Surrounded by the congregation, he douses the child with water poured from a metal scallop shell similar to the ones from the Camino de Santiago, slathers the child with holy oil, and says, "Let's welcome our newest member of our community," as proud parents hold their child high like Simba being presented in the Lion King. The congregation erupts with applause, laughter, tears, and great joy.

Today's verse made me think of the baptisms, the Holy Spirit, new birth, new beginnings, and new hope. We start out as babies, fresh with the Holy Spirit of Baptism, and as we live our lives, the newness wears off. Sometimes cynicism replaces joy, and we live more in the flesh than in the Spirit. What would happen if we tried to live more in the Spirit of Baptism? What would happen if we renewed our lives in the Spirit, laughed more, found joy in the smallest things, and lived more in hope?

Because today is Friday during Lent, I'd like to leave you with this: A Baptist was living in a neighborhood of Catholics, and every Friday during Lent, the Baptist would grill big, thick steaks. The aroma wafted throughout the neighborhood and tempted the Catholics beyond belief.

The Catholics encouraged the Baptist to become Catholic, and he agreed. The priest sprinkled water on the man's head and said, "You were born a Baptist and raised a Baptist, and now you're a Catholic."

The following year, on the first Friday of Lent, the neighborhood smelled of grilling steaks. The Catholics went to the man's house and watched as the man sprinkled water on the steak and said, "You were born a cow and raised a cow, and now you're a fish."

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