On Saturday, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Conirmation for 62 of our young people. The conirming bishop is MANNY CRUZ, Regional Bishop of Union County. BIENVENIDA, EL OBISPO MANNY!!! Because of the number of candidates, we have two ceremonies, one at 10, and the other at 1:30. Do you remember your Conirmation? It might have been a little different than the way it is celebrated today, but it was just as important for us as it is for these young people today.
The guiding principles for Jesus when he was growing up were the Ten Commandments. They were an important part of his life, as they have been for us. But Jesus took them to a different level reminding us that our relationship with God is not just about what we can and can’t do, but who we are as God’s people and how we live what we believe. Jesus taught and showed us that we are valuable creatures of God, and as such are invited to respond to the needs of one another in a positive way. This is how we relect the presence of Jesus for each other. Matthew relects this for us in the Sermon on the Mount, in Chapter 5 of his gospel.
Recognizing our need for God helps us understand the impact that God has on our lives, that became revealed to us in Christ Jesus. In the Gospels these last two weeks, Jesus is not inviting us to harm ourselves or to forget the important people in our lives. What he is inviting us to do is to help us recognize that our relationship with God is paramount in our lives and we are called to radiate that relationship in who we are and how we live as God’s people. It is also an invitation to keep everything we have and do in life in perspective. Sometimes, though, it is easy for us to get lost in the events of our daily lives that we forget what is primary to us. It’s not that we forget, but that at times we can be overwhelmed by the events that we lose our perspective. But Jesus reminds us to come back to what is primary and essential in life, and that is our relationship with the Father, as revealed through him.
Jesus has also given us insight to the kingdom of God, and challenges us to help build that kingdom on earth. We do this by tapping into the insights and wisdom that come from the Scriptures and life of the church. We are called to be a viable and visible sign of Jesus for others, as we celebrate the wonder that Jesus is for us. We are called to stand for values that are different from the world, which makes us more credible witnesses to Jesus, even in the midst of the dificulties that the church is facing right now. These values don’t make us better than others, just different because they come from God and not the world.
We always want what is best for our children, and hopefully, we are able to give them the example they need to become better people in the church and the world. The same can be true for each of us. we want to give to each other the best example possible because we have been attentive to the Lord, receptive to all he offers us and are willing to radiate this to each other. Our response to one another must be consistent with what we believe if we want to be credible signs of the Lord’s presence to others.
~ FR. JOE