Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Whenever we introduce ourselves, usually we say our names, our age, where we are, who our parents, what school we go. And then, when you grow up and you have jobs, we include our profession. Today, in the readings, we have someone who is introduced. Do you know who? is Jesus.

Today's readings are a bit 'difficult to explain to you, my dear boys and girls, but let us try to understand it by focusing on three words only. Three words that we can deduce from the readings, used when Jesus was introduced by the Prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist, and St. Paul : SACRIFICE, REMAIN, COMMUNION.

Let's start with SACRIFICE. The Prophet told us who the Messiah is. He is the Servant on whom God's glory shall be manifested. On the other hand, John the Baptist introduced him as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." But, what it means to be the Lamb of God? This means that Jesus, as the Messiah, will sacrifice to "raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel." He will be like the lambs that were offered to God during the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the Prophets. In fact, the Gospel is trying to present to us what will happen to Jesus in the future.

The second word that we must remember is REMAIN. John the Baptist said that the Holy Spirit came "from heaven like a dove and remained on him". It did not come and then suddenly gone. Well of course I do not mean that at all times you will see a dove hovering Jesus. What I mean is that the Spirit stayed within him. It remained in Jesus and supported him. It was the one that gave him the strength to endure the hardships and sacrifices that he was going to do. The spirit that has remained on him made him stronger and to be in communion with the Father.

The third word is COMMUNION. When St. Paul sent a letter to the Corinthians, he began by introducing himself. Take note of the way he presented himself. He introduced himself as "an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, sent to the Church of Corinth" that is "sanctified in Christ Jesus." He uses the name of Jesus, the Servant of God who sacrificed himself for us to remain in God. This is to show that St. Paul is in communion with them and that he is bearing the name of Jesus.

The Holy Eucharist in which we celebrate every day is the remembrance of that SACRIFICE he has done for us. This is why, towards the end of the ritual, before taking our communion, we are reminded that the one whom we will receive is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Four months from now, after two years of sacrifice, coming here for the catechism, you can finally have your first communion. You will receive the body and blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Lamb of God who sacrificed himself for all of us.

The challenge for us, not only for these boys and girls, but for all of us here present, after receiving the communion, is to REMAIN faithful to this Lamb of God, to remain in the Spirit of God. If we allow this in a small piece of bread, the Body of Christ, the Lamb of God, to remain in us, it will give us strength and we will be able to endure hardship and temptations in our day to day life as Christians.

Likewise, the other challenge for us is to ALWAYS BE IN COMMUNION with God, in communion others, one with all, to live the values of the Kingdom doing good, staying faithful witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel. So be it.


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