And so, at the start of Lent, the Genesis account of the flood reminds us that the desert in which we wander will be consumed in a flood of grace (as one of my local pastors once explained in a homily).
This kind of imagery fits in with Old Testament prophecy.
Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ.
No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. When the majority of us were baptized we were not only too young to not only to fail to appreciate it but even to remember it.
(This does actually follow the sequence of the exodus account: for Israel the wandering in the desert ended with the crossing of the Jordan and then then entrance into the Promised Land.) There is so much that happens over Easter Weekend.
The vigil alone is overwhelming in its beauty, mystery, and spiritual power.
The flood and water imagery is not actually opposed to that of the desert. In a sense, we are called to follow Christ in reverse order during Lent: He was baptized in the Jordan then went out into the desert.
We, on the other hand, fight our temptations during Lent in order that we might cross the Jordan.
Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island.
Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism.
The solemn significance of baptism is underscored by the fact that it can only be done once and is irreversible.
As the catechism puts it, Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ.
A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history.