This is one of my favorite Collects in the Roman Missal. Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter.
God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
The very first verb, "kindle," gives us direction, and that is: top down. God stirs up, God lights the fire, only God can increase the grace he gives. Part of the requirement to receive the grace is for us to be open to what he wants to give us.
We will hear the Accrue, or what we ask to gain, in the second reading of the Mass (Liturgical Cycle B). It is from 1st John 5:5-6. This part of the Letter of John discusses overcoming the world:
“Who (indeed) is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood.”
Chapter 5:7-8 continue, “So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.”
The font where we were washed is Baptism. When you were baptized, just like at Jesus’ baptism, the Father declared over you, “you are my beloved.” Just think - the power in our baptism is the same power we observed last week in Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection.
The Spirit in which we were reborn is the Holy Spirit. The Latin form of this prayer uses the word “breath.” The Spirit is the breath of God. In the Nicene Creed we proclaim the Holy Spirit as the Lord, the Giver of Life. The same breath, or the Spirit, that brought life when Jesus was raised from the dead, dwells in you.
To redeem means to buy back. It wasn’t enough that Jesus was born and baptized, we needed to be bought back, or redeemed. You and I have expensive price tags. Our redemption cost Jesus his life, which he voluntarily gave out of love for his Father and his love for us.
The font, the Spirit and the Blood tell us how God has made us his own. We have been washed, redeemed and given new life. We can’t understand it all on our own, and it may sound foolish to someone who has never heard the Gospel story. In fact, to grow in our understanding will rely on God’s grace.
This week as we Lectio the Liturgy, ask God for that grace, so that you will more deeply understand the water, the Blood and the Spirit’s role in your life. The water, Blood and Spirit all testify to the fact that God has given everything he has to be one with us. What can we give him in return?
Thank you for praying with me. May you have a blessed week,