1/22/2017-How Was Your Weekend?
Our Father continues to show Himself to be a loving, faithful, and mighty God as He leads us deeper and deeper into our encounter with His Son, Jesus! One of the great graces of our celebration of the Birth of Jesus was the realization that our faith in Him is something that has an inherent power to grow and develop. Together we have now seen several times, that a primary way our faith in Jesus grows is by allowing our Father to lead us and bring us through experiences in which our faith in Jesus is confirmed. We are learning a very important lesson about what it means to be Catholic; what it means to be a disciple of Jesus: it is not a question of “I already know that!” but rather of allowing our faith to grow, develop, mature and bear fruit through experiences of being confirmed in our faith.
THE FATHER TOLD ME: I AM GOING TO MEET HIS SON. I AM GOING TO ENCOUNTER THE LAMB OF GOD! Last Sunday, we took our first pilgrimage in a long time to the River Jordan. Through the Gospel, we had a wonderful opportunity to engage St. John the Baptist in a conversation to discover how it is that his faith in Jesus grew. We began by asking John: What are you doing? He responded: I am here baptizing with water unto the remission of sins. We asked him, why? He told us that he is preparing the way for One who is coming after him. So, we asked him: who? Who is coming after you? He responded that he did not know the man. So we probed further: if you don’t know Him, how will you be able to point Him out? John sighed as he said: All I know is that the Father promised me that I would see the Lamb of God; that I would encounter His very Son. I am to see with my own eyes and proclaim to the world the Lamb of God who is going to suffer and die in our place so that our sins can be forgiven. John’s eyes teared up as he continued: I will encounter the Son of God! At this point, we too really wanted to know who this One was. So we asked John again: But, who is He? John replied: I told you, I don’t know the man. But the Father told me: On whomever you see the Holy Spirit descend and remain, that is He! At that very moment, Jesus stepped forward! John was visibly moved as he baptized Him. Then, the heavens opened! We heard the voice of our Father! We saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus and remain. And John promptly proclaimed with all his being: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Wow! John’s faith in Jesus grew in the same way that Mary’s grew: his faith was confirmed through an experience!
WHAT’S THE RELEVANCE OF ALL OF THIS? Do you see that every time you enter our Father’s house, He makes the very same promise to you: today, you will encounter the Lamb of God! Today, you will meet my Son! Is this not one of the most extraordinary graces of our Catholic faith? We encounter Jesus is the power of the proclamation of His Word! We encounter Jesus through the beauty and power of our praise and our song! We encounter Jesus in our fellowship and love for one another. And, and every Holy Mass, when our priest stands at the altar, imposes his sacred hands over our offerings, invokes the Holy Spirit to descend and remain, we know that the Holy Spirit, God, transforms our bread and wine into the very flesh and blood of Jesus as He hangs upon the Cross for love of us, as our Lamb of God! When our priest lifts Jesus high and proclaims: “Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world . . . “ we too, just like John, can see Jesus, we can encounter Him, we can be confirmed in our faith in Him! Let us shake off all habit and routine when it comes to our reception of Holy Communion. Jesus never lives this moment in a cold, indifferent or impersonal way. Let us not wound the heart of our Savior by leaving Him outside the door of our hearts. Let us allow the Father to lead and bring us through this experience, this encounter with Jesus! “Father, I want to know your Son! Father, I want to experience the love of Jesus for me! Father, I want Jesus to be the Lord and King of my life! Jesus, I want to see you today! Jesus, I want to hear your voice!”
SO, HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND? Won’t it be exciting and amazing that one day, when you are asked this question, you will be able to respond sincerely from your heart: Awesome! I encountered Jesus on Sunday! My faith in Him was confirmed! I know that He loves me! My life might be full of challenges right now, but knowing that He is with me, well, that’s just amazing!
ALPHA, ALPHA, ALPHA The Alpha experience has the power to unite all of us more closely to Jesus! Alpha will equip you with many tools that will allow your faith in Jesus to be confirmed in so many ways throughout your daily life. You will discover how prayer, the Bible, God’s healing, God’s guidance will open your eyes to recognize the presence of Jesus in your daily life and thus to have a robust faith in Him that is constantly growing and being nurtured! I am asking all of you to attend the Alpha experience during this next calendar year! I have no problem insisting upon this because I know what I am asking of you and how much it will benefit you and your family. I am asking you to enjoy a nice dinner with fellow parishioners, to watch an engaging DVD that will teach you how to nurture and foster your faith, to engage in a meaningful conversation with your brothers and sisters in the faith.
Have a blessed week and remember to pray for each other.