A very attentive group was confirmed in Gillette last night. The two young ladies that proclaimed God’s Word did as fine a job as any lector I have heard in a long time. The students were quite attentive during the celebration, and very happy to hang around and get their picture with this bishop. The weather prevented a few family and friends from joining us, but it was a warm celebration inside St. Matthew.
The passage from the Prophet Isaiah really caught my attention last night, and was the primary scripture source for preaching. The passage came from the famous lines Jesus chose at the beginning of His public ministry, from chapter 61, verses 1 – 3.
Just as Jesus fulfilled this passage in His public ministry, we are to continue the same works, inspired by the Holy Spirit He gives us in Baptism and Confirmation. These sacraments so identify us with Jesus and His work. The Spirit not only calls us to the same ministry, but inspires and impells us if we are paying any attention to the work of the Spirit within us.
Jesus brought glad tidings to the lowly. So, too must we. We all know people who struggle with life’s day-to-day trials. Our faith sends us to such as these to share our faith and to lend a helping hand.
Jesus healed the brokenhearted. So, too must we. We do not need to look long and hard to find the brokenhearted around us. Our faith calls us to share their suffering, because such companionship is the true balm for hurting hearts.
Jesus proclaimed liberty to captives and release to prisoners. So, too must we. Yes, to those who are physically in prisons, but to many others as well. How many are imprisoned by darkness and addictions? How many have been forced to the margins of society because of their illnesses or difficulties? How many people has society forgotten or simply lost patience with that we are to aid through our presence and understanding? This is the work of faith, the work of the Gospel, the work of those who claim to be followers of Jesus.
It is not enough to simply claim to ‘be’ Catholic. There must be a coherent ‘living of the faith’ if our faith is to have any credibility. My challenge to the young people last night was just that: “Live the faith.”