REFLECTION: We are all called as followers of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

As you may know at the earlier Mass today, young people from this parish were officially inscribed into their program to receive the sacrament of confirmation next April. And it’s always inspiring to see young people who are willing to make this journey to know Jesus better and to receive that final sacrament of initiation. I think it’s within that framework, because they are members of your community, that all of us should reflect on the Scripture lessons today — the framework of what the sacrament of confirmation means, what it will mean for these young people, and for all of us who have already received it.

And the very first prayer in the celebration of the sacrament I think helps us to understand what this sacrament really is. At that celebration, we pray, “All powerful and ever-living God, in your goodness, hear our prayer. Send your Holy Spirit upon us to make us witnesses before the world to the good news proclaimed by Jesus Christ, who lives with you and one God forever and ever. Amen.” But that gives you the heart of the sacrament. You are confirmed, anointed with the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the good news, to be witnesses of that good news of Jesus.

Two things in that prayer: to be witnesses. That is for all of us to reflect upon. Do we give testimony at times in our words, but most of all, by our very lives? Do our lives speak Jesus? That’s what it means to be a witness to Jesus — that your very life speaks Jesus. And the good news: well, the good news is what we hear accepting the Gospel lesson today where Jesus reminds us the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.” First and most important of commandments…

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