Friday, October 19, 2018

Memorial of Saints John de Br├ębeuf and Isaac Jogues, priests, and Companions, martyrs

(Ephesians 1:11-14; Luke 12:1-7)

Many think that Christ’s “passion” only refers to his suffering for our sake.  But the word “passion” indicates much more.  As Mel Gibson said when he released his famous movie, “passion” refers first to Christ’s burning love.  Passionate love moved Christ to suffer the worst of deaths so that we might enjoy the best of life.  If newcomers to the Church are not impressed by this, what can touch their hearts?

The seal or sign of our being chosen by God is received in Baptism.  There the Holy Spirit marks us – the “you” of the Ephesians passage -- as God’s own.  Now we too can look forward to eternal life.  Now we too should live for God by giving Him praise and calling others to Him.  A deceased bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth had his baptismal date inscribed on his tombstone.  He used to tell his people that it was the most important day of his life because on it the Holy Spirit adopted him into God’s family.  He might have added that on that day he received the Spirit’s grace to help transform the world.

But many of us do not remember the date of our Baptism, much less celebrate it.  Perhaps we don’t know or believe that there is anything special at all about being baptized.  We do not see that Baptism makes God our Father in a unique sense because it joins us to Christ.  We are oblivious to the truth that this relationship gives us a claim on an eternal home of joy and love.  Ephesians declares that we have already received an installment of this inheritance.  We should already be experiencing this joy and love in our communities -- family, church, and society.  Even if they are not exemplary, our challenge now is to improve the quality of these situations.  We should strive to make them places which reflect the goodness and peace of God. When they do so, no one will doubt the wonder of being a Christian.