Confirmation near Deming, Washington

The readings for this 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time use beautiful language to express how the human person longs for communion with God.

Jeremiah says the Word of the Lord became like fire burning in his heart, imprisoned in his bones, and he grew weary trying to contain it. (20:7-9) The Psalmist says his soul thirst for God, “for you my flesh pines.” (Psalm 63) And St. Paul in the Letter to the Romans encourages us “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” (12:1-2)

As we know, the Incarnation is the moment in history when Jesus, the Word of God, took on our human flesh, and became one of us in all things but sin. God, so in love with the human race, lowered himself to become one of us, in the flesh, so as to communicate his love and to ‘offer his body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,’ for our salvation.

Jesus tells his disciples he must suffer greatly, be killed, and on the third day rise from the dead.

When they question him, he says further that for those of us who wish to follow him, we must deny our self and take up our cross. It is in such self denial for the sake of Jesus that we find true life.

Jesus asks: What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Indeed, Jesus won the whole world by forfeiting his life. That is the lesson!

Offering our bodies as spiritual worship to God is the means by which we are conformed to Christ and grow in holiness. We offer our bodies when we learn to use our bodies as Christ; to gaze upon others with compassion and love. We are to use our hands as did Christ to lift up the downtrodden and extend a hand in friendship to those who are misunderstood and in need.

In short, we are to allow the Word to become flesh in us, and in humble service, we are to touch the flesh of Christ in others.

Please take time to listen to the Gospel and homily from today’s Mass at the Cathedral.

I am grateful for the opportunity to renew travels in the Archdiocese. Yesterday I was in Lynden and Deming for a brief visit to their two parishes concluding with an outdoor Confirmation Mass in the cemetery at Deming, which was the site of their first church built back in the 1890’s. This morning, as always, it was great to celebrate with the Cathedral community and to conclude the sacramental journey with an outdoor Mass and receiving a family into full Communion at Holy Rosary in Tacoma.

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