Lord Jesus Christ, with your permission! Once again to the members of the NET team I would like to extend to you my affirmation and appreciation for the hard work you do preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You and I live in a world where it is often difficult to stand up one’s faith out of fear or persecution or rejection. What you provided for the members of our Youth Group this evening is encouragement and hope that there are those who are willing to spend a part of their lives serving the Lord.
Speaking in my capacity as a priest of Jesus Christ, I thank you with my whole heart for assisting me in my priestly ministry. You my friends bring people to Christ and in many cases back to Him. Each one of you through your ministry has an opportunity to reach individuals that as a priest I would have a hard time reaching. While I represent the vine, you my friends are the branches keep reaching out to others helping them to understand the love and mercy the Lord has for each one of us.
This morning the members of the NET team and many of you gathered this evening had the opportunity to hear my homily in which I laid out a new liturgical year resolution to build up the Body of Christ. While I certainly intended this to be a parish goal, it is meant to go much further than that. You and I are called to build up the Body of Christ here on earth by bringing more people to Him. Religion is something that we can’t force on people; however our faith is something we should be constantly inviting people into. The Catholic Church is not a closed circle but rather an open family that is constantly welcoming people into it. Today I focused on children especially since last night in Rome our Holy Father held a vigil for the protection of all human life especially the unborn. As you already know we live in a society that often rejects children and the value they bring to our society. My dear young friends this is a culture that we are meant to change and we can change it with His help. The Gospel we must preach is this and it was the closing statement in the homily, “close the door to our children and our young families than we do indeed close the door to Christ.”
So often we Catholic’s tend to across at times as being closed and cold as the stone that often outlines many of our Church buildings, but that shouldn’t be. Our church’s should be places in which everyone who comes to worship and give thanks to God feels the warmth of God’s loving embrace. That is our challenge today! Do we have all the answers? No of course not. This evening we have the opportunity to worship our Lord who is truly present among us. Our Lord chose to come to us under the appearance of bread for a reason. Bread represents a source of nourishment and strength but also in the time of Christ it was a common food. In choosing an ordinary piece of bread to become the bread of life our Lord demonstrates His humility. This evening we have the opportunity to exercise our humility by kneeling in presence of our Eucharistic Lord. Yes we don’t have all the answers, but right here is a good place for us to start.
To begin our spiritual journey of advent we need to trust in God. We need to let it all go our desires and wants and place everything into His hands. Stay focused! Keep your eyes on Him! Don’t take your eyes off Him for even one second! He is indeed our survival of life; He is the one who keeps us afloat. No matter what we do, long as we keep our Lord in our sights and make Him the center of everything we do, we will be successful in bringing more people to His Kingdom!