Season of Joy
Today's Season of Joy reflection on John 16:29-33 is by the Very Reverend Esequiel Sanchez.
Father Esequiel is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago serving for the past 27 years serving in various capacities and parishes. He is currently the Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, as well as Dean for Vicariate I in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Worship the True God
from John 16:29-33
The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God...”
To read the full scripture passage, please visit: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/
Hello friends. You know, a few years ago, I was serving as pastor of an incredibly vibrant church filled with families and youth.
We had the blessings of having a Catholic School with over four hundred students and the same number of children involved in our religious education programs.
I made it a point as pastor to spend time with our students, to get to know them and their families in order that they may feel more part of the life of the parish.
Like so many efforts with our young people, shortly after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, they began to abandon the practice of their faith.
I remember a great kid named Jimmy whom I thought the world of. He seemed so faithful, so pious, so caring; he was always volunteering for events, loved sports, and he had a great attitude.
But after he got confirmed, and then entered into high school, I noticed that Jimmy stopped coming to church. I would see his parents and his siblings, but Jimmy no longer joined them.
One day, as I was making my morning walk around the neighborhood, I found Jimmy out in front of his house getting ready to go somewhere.
I stopped by to say hello and asked him why he wasn’t attending Mass anymore, and how that has been a point of sadness for his parents.
He responded, “I know it's been a while since I've gone to church, Father, but I got football games on Sunday, and so I can’t make it to church. I also got a lot of homework from school so, between that and doing a few other things, I just don't have time to go to Mass. But I still believe in God. Don't worry.”
At this point, I decided to help him understand the direction of his justifications, and where they were leading him.
I responded by saying, “Jimmy, it seems you have found a new religion in your life, and perhaps that's why your family is a bit sad with what you are saying and doing.”
He said, “No Father, I'm still a Catholic. It's just that I've been very busy, and I don't have time to go to church right now; but I still believe in God and sometimes pray.”
“Yes, I understand what you are saying,” I told him. “But it is precisely because of what you have just told me that I say that your faith has changed. You see, it seems that the god you are praying to does not seem to care whether you adore him or not.
He doesn't seem to mind that you do things at a time and whenever it is that it is convenient for you. It seems that the god you're praying to only exists when you need him, and he seems to works for you.
That is very different than what we taught you when we spoke to you about Jesus and what he had done for us and why. We have come to know that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit who has chosen us to love and serve him.
God cares that you love him; God cares that we serve him; God cares that we love one another through justice and charity. Your parents have tried to help you understand what the Church has taught for centuries; that although God loves, helps, and saves us, He is Lord.
The Eucharist is the center of our lives and is the place where we experience these truths and draw strength to endure.”
Jimmy then said, “I know, Father, but it seems that nobody else believes that. None of my friends go to church so I thought it was okay. I’ll try to make it for this Sunday.”
The Church is reminded of a very important theological truth.
In Latin, it is expressed, "lex orandi, lex credendi," meaning that the law of faith is united to the law of belief.
In other words, how we pray impacts what we believe and what we believe impacts how we pray, act and move in this world. It is not good enough to know a lot of information about God and not have a real relationship with him.
Like all good relationships, they are fostered with patience, time, and mission.
Serving God together is how we come to know our true relationship with the Lord, who calls us to himself.
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