Water: sacred, scary

Submerged cars are seen in downtown Davenport, Iowa, after a levee failure on April 30. (Provided photo/Christopher Mandle)

There are more than 700 references to water in the Bible. Pope Francis, in his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si” (“On Care for Our Common Home”), cites it 47 times.

Water is the element used in the sacrament of baptism to symbolize the grace of God which cleanses us and gives us life. For so many reasons, we love the page 3 photo of Father Daniel Ebker pouring the waters of baptism over Reed Catalano at the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton.

Water is essential to life, but most of us take it for granted until there is not enough of it for our crops or yards, or too much of it — as is the case in our flooded region again this spring — in our fields, basements, businesses, and streets.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no reports of damage to Catholic properties in the Diocese of Peoria had been reported to insurance representatives. But we are mindful that a) it is still raining this week, and b) there is a major clean-up job ahead for so many along our flooded rivers, particularly the hard-hit Quad Cities region and specifically downtown Davenport, Iowa, shown in the above photo.

Just as water is symbolic of so much in our faith, so is the image of the many volunteers that came forward in recent days for flood assistance duty.

A verse in the Old Testament Book of Amos begs that “justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” May the rivers of justice and righteousness continue to swell in our diocese, the flood waters return to their banks, and blessed rain be sent to regions of the world experiencing drought. — Thomas J. Dermody

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