For five Sundays, starting last weekend – 17th Sunday in Ordinary time till 21st Sunday of Ordinary time – our Sunday liturgy will be focused on the Gospel of St. John, chapter 6: versus 1-66. This chapter invites us to meditate and reflect on the account of the multiplication of loaves and fish, Jesus, the Bread of Life, the disciples’ testimony that Jesus has the words of eternal life and the sacrifice of the Mass.
The Eucharist is the centre – the very essence of our faith -and the depth and richness of our weekly celebration. We give gratitude to God for His mercy and compassion, for answering many of our prayers and petitions, and we thank Him for his great love for us. We not only give glory to God, but we also encourage each other in our faith journey.The Holy Father, Pope Francis said, “At every celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus pours out His mercy upon us, as He did on the cross, in order to renew our hearts, our lives and our entire world.” The Eucharist is the only food that satisfies and strengthens us to bear witness to His love. Every Catholic must make Mass a priority, and choose this food of life as a grace to hunger for God.
Next Saturday, 11 August 2018, our confirmation students will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, as they receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. I strongly encouraged all our confirmation students to attend Holy Hour on Friday, 3 August 2018 and at same time, to go for confession.
On their Confirmation day, they will encounter moments of the presence and nearness of Jesus through the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion. My dear students, we are created by God to make a difference in our community and society. In God’s kingdom, we have a place, a purpose, a role and a function to fulfill. Confirmation will give your life great significance and special value, no matter how discouraged you may feel.
By the virtue of this Sacrament, and as St Paul says, “You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you” (1 Peter 2:9). Whenever you use your God-given abilities to assist others, you are fulfilling your calling as ambassadors of Christ. You have the crucial role of assisting your friends and siblings to grow in Christ. Parents and godparents of our confirmation students, you too have the responsibility to encourage your sons and daughters not to stay away from the Church. One of the best things you can do for your children is to speak the Word of God to them regularly.
My dear students, after all that you have studied during catechism over the years, it is now time for you to act on what you know about Christ Jesus and practice what you claim to believe. Your continued service to the Lord, the church and your community will lead you to a greater understanding of your faith. If you want greater spiritual maturity and wisdom, you need to be pouring what you already know into the lives of others!
My dear confirmands! Make a difference in your spiritual life from now on and be a blessing to those around you, as you serve your families and your Church. May God bless you all.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy