Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Catechesis 19th August 2011

Maggie and Bob McCarthy

They told us that they were working for the De La Salle Brothers at the moment. The asked us to imagine what it must have looked like from space, seeing this mass migration of people to Madrid for this event. They told us that our tradition is filled with the saints who challenge us in our faith. Our community of saints remind us to be witnesses of faith.

On Holy Thursday Jesus washes feet, and breaks bread, he comes to us.  The cross marks us as followers of Jesus. Are we more loving, peaceful, forgiving, joyful, compassionate, and courageous? If we want to combat the big issues we need to be people of Eucharist and justice.

Archbishop Dolan

Archbishop Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said that he was asked if he was nervous about speaking to so many young people and he said 'I'm not nervous because Jesus told us to not be afraid.' He told us he would be speaking on being a witness to Christ in the world. He told us how much the bishops love us, are proud of us and that as young people we are a huge catechesis to the bishops.

The result of being planted and built up in Jesus is that we are to share Jesus with others. By its nature, faith in Jesus is contagious, we're busting to share it with others.

St James and St Paul came to Spain itching to tell others about the faith and the people who had passed it on from generation to generation. Whn Columbus went exploring in the Eighteenth Century the king and queen of Spain told him the first thing he was to do was to spread the faith. So when he got to the Americas the first thing he did was plant the cross in the soil.

Our call today is to be missionaries. Four ways we can be missionaries and being evangelists, so being salt and light are: charity, joy, hope, and love for the Church.

Charity: What captivated people from the beginning of the Church was the love the followers had for each other. The love and charity for God was so profoundly deep, passionate, and consuming that they would rather die than deny Jesus. Tertullian: the Blood of the Martyrs is a great witness. Catherine Doherty, set up houses of hospitality throughout Canada, she would welcome the poor in and then they would live in community. She was called to one house which was having a lot of conflict in it. She told them they were going to have to close it, and the people asked her why, and who was going to help the poor. She told them the government could do it but they were called to do it with love, and charity, and if we can't do that then we go out of business. We are called to this life.

John Paul II's idea on the law of the gift tells us that we are at our best, how we are meant to be, and most notably human when we give ourselves away to another human. That's the law we are called to obey.

Joy: Joy is an infallible sign of God's presence. A french philosopher, when he was a student at a Catholic University in Washington DC used to help in a hospice for dying AIDS patients.
He asked to go in on Good Friday and went around with the cross for the patients to venerate it. A man was calling to him to come over, and he was told by the sisters of charity that the man was dangerous, and advised him not to go over. However, he told them he had to go over, 'you walk in front of me', and the man did venerate the cross. On Holy Saturday the sisters told the archbishop that the man was close to death and wanted to be baptised. The archbishop went to him and asked him why he wanted to be baptised and he said, 'the sisters are so full of joy, they got it, I don't, I want it now and I want it for eternity, I want to be baptised.' So he was baptised.

Mother Teresa said that we should always think JOY: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Hope: No coincidence that Pope Benedict's first encyclical was entitled spe salve. We have a critical need of hope. This God keeps his promises. The archbishop was the chair of the Catholic relief service that went to Haiti. He went to the rubble of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and there in the middle of the mess, untouched and unscathed there was the cross of Christ. Thousands of people were there clamouring to touch the cross of Christ. They still had hope. 'Their hope is resiliant, they'll never give up.' He said this in reference to the people of Haiti. Our missionary zeal comes from our hope. Cardinal Von Thuan from Vietnam had a cross and ring that was made out of electrical wire. He was in communist prison for 11 years and the only thing that kept him going was his hope. On the day he was released the guards gave him the cross and ring as a gift and said to him 'You never lost your hope.'

Passionate love of the Church: John Paul II said that the love of Jesus, and his Church must be the passion of your lives. Jesus is alive, powerful, teaching and accessible in and through his Church. A theist believes in God, a Christian believes in Christ, a Catholic believes Jesus Christ is alive in his Church. People tell us they want spirituality without being religious; we say no can do, that's impossible for a Catholic. Jesus and his Church are synonomous, see when St Paul is on the Road to Damascus, and Jesus said 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me.' This is because Jesus and his Church are one. It is no wonder that he used such beautiful imagery to teach us about the Church. At times it is difficult to love the Church but the Church is Christ and he is true God and true Man. He was most God when he was crucified. The Church is the bride of Christ. The Church is the body of Christ; at times it is attractive and at others it is ugly but it is still the mystical body of Christ. A show of that loyalty and allegiance is a great strategy of evangelisation.

When he was the Archbishop of Milwaukee, there was a beautiful old parish and the decision was made that it had to be closed. The people were very good about it and he celebrated the last Saturday night Mass. It was a beautiful Mass, and all that was left was the wooden structure of the Church as the other things had been taken elsewhere. The people of the parish wasked if they could bur it to the ground, and offer it as a sacrifce to God, rather than it standing there abandoned. After Mass they went outside, said the Creed and then the voluntary fire service set the fire. They all then departed. The following day the archbishop was going passed the ruins and the Church had completely burnt to the ground. The only thing that was left were nails stacked around the foundation. People were taking the nails as souvenirs abd he asked for one. Those nails held the building together, like the nails of the crucifix held this Church together for the last 2000 years. It is strong and by still loving we show the nails off because the nails of Jesus keep the Church together.

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