Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Recently, Pope Francis spoke to young people in Bangladesh about the word, “wisdom”. He said that the one thing that directs and guides us on to the right path is wisdom, the wisdom born of faith. It is embracing our faith and joyously yielding to the will of God. It is not the wisdom of this world. “It is the wisdom we see in the eyes of our parents and grandparents who put their trust in God. As Christians, we can see the light of God’s presence in their eyes, the light that they have discovered in Jesus, who is the very wisdom of God.”
Pope Francis says that we receive this wisdom when we see things with God’s eyes, listen to others with God’s ears, love with God’s heart, and judge things by God’s values. During the season of Advent, we prepared the way of the Lord; we prepared our heart to listen to God, to receive Him to do His will. During the season of Christmas, we welcomed Jesus within our very being, so full of love of Him are we. Now, we step away from all the preparations, the gatherings, and get back into the routine of daily living. Yet the call of the Lord is ever present. It is sometimes a whisper barely audible, but still noticeable, persistent; it is sometimes a clanging bell, so loud we can hardly stand to be near it. How strong is our faith? Do we respond to God, or do we walk around or away?
God does call us. He invites us to be in relationship with Him. We enter into this relationship through Baptism and continue to receive His Real Presence through the nourishment of the Eucharist, by participating in the celebration of Mass. The Mass is an encounter of love with Christ.
How many of us would choose not to eat or drink? The Eucharist, given for us by Christ, is spiritual nourishment for our spirit, our soul. Yet we struggle with our participation in the very celebration God offers us as heaven on earth!
When we participate in the celebration of Mass, we participate to fully live the Mass and to savor all of its beauty. Pope Francis said that the faithful, gathered together, “form a community, that they might dispose themselves to hear with faith the word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily.”
We are all asked daily to renew and deepen our joy in the Lord by striving to imitate Him ever more fully. Participating in the celebration of Mass helps us to do this. There are those whose lives are consecrated to serve the Lord, our religious sisters, brothers, and priests, who are examples of living out this joy by accompanying people, especially in their moments of suffering or trial. Their fidelity in serving Christ and His Church through the gift of their lives bears the Eucharist in our world. We leave the walls of the church building and go out into the boundless earth to bring the Eucharist among all the people.
Please join me! I will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for Consecrated Life on January 27, 11:00 a.m., at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. I ask that you make a sacrifice to participate in this beautiful celebration where we offer our gratitude for those who chose a vocation of consecrated life, that they might be bread broken for the world. They proclaim fervently, “Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your will.” May each one of us echo their faith!