My Dear Friends,
Last week, I introduced you to our new parish initiative of instituting “Formation Wednesdays” to increase our collective understanding of our Catholic faith. Due to scheduling conflicts this month and a school Confirmation Mass, we will not be able to begin our Formation Wednesdays until February 2. During that month, Father Omar and I will break open the Catechism of the Catholic Church, one for greatest gifts St. John Paul II gave to the church. We will dive into the Creed and try to answer the title of my first presentation: “What Do We Believe? These sessions will be an hour long and obviously will have time for questions and answers. In February, we will be covering the beginnings of the Creed, and once the calendar turns to March and we begin the season of Lent, the formation talks will take on a Lenten character as we focus on our Lord and his passion, death, and resurrection.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and our baptismal call to holiness precisely calls us to learning more about this faith we were baptized into. In one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, which we will cover down the line in our formation talks, the Council Fathers remind us:
The Church…is believed to be indefectibly holy. Indeed Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is praised as “uniquely holy, loved the Church as His bride, delivering Himself up for her. He did this that He might sanctify her. He united her to Himself as His own body and brought it to perfection by the gift of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory. Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thes 4:3)… The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and everyone of His disciples of every condition. He Himself stands as the author and consummator of this holiness of life: “Be you therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Indeed He sent the Holy Spirit upon all men that He might move them inwardly to love God with their whole heart and their whole soul, with all their mind and all their strength and that they might love each other as Christ loves them. The followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to His own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus, because in the baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way they are really made holy. Then too, by God’s gift, they must hold on to and complete in their lives this holiness they have received. (Lumen Gentium 39,40)
We must never forget that as a Church, as the mystical Body of Christ, we are called to holiness of life at all times. Today we are reminded that we became a new creation through the waters of baptism and sent forth to proclaim the gospel to all nations. This is why it is necessary that we learn the mysteries of our faith. The richness of our Catholic faith requires great study and deliberation in order for our Catholic witness to be effective. May we strive to be informed (and not ignorant) Catholics. The world sorely needs our baptismal witness.
God bless you all!