Thursday, August 5, 2010

Professing Faith

Readings for Thursday, August 5/Dedication of St. Mary Major:
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:12-15,18-19
Matthew 16:13-23

*This is a homily written for a communion service for the staff of Our Lady of Mercy School*

Today the Church celebrates the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, the oldest western basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the fourth century there was a great conflict over whether Mary was truly the Mother of God. The bishops came together at a council and declared that it was fitting to call Mary the Mother of God since Christ, being her son, was also fully God. We hear this profession of Christ’s divinity on the lips of Saint Peter in today’s gospel reading.

When asked who the people thought He, was Jesus is given a list of men who had died – John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets, all of whom had died long ago. And yet on the lips of Saint Peter we hear “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The living God - what a beautiful description. It speaks that the Lord is active in our lives, full alive in everything and still working wonders in the world today. And as we hear that profession of faith in Christ, we are called to also make our own act of faith. Faith is not something that just happens in us, it is something that we must actively pursue and continually live out.

As teachers and staff of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School and Parish, each one of us is called in a particular way to help the children who come here to come to know Jesus in a personal way so that they too might be able to make their own profession of faith in Him. They will come to find Him through you, through your caring attention, your willingness to help them, and the love you have for each and every person here, whether staff, student or parent. It is a beautiful thing to play such a formative role in these children’s lives and I thank you for walking with them along their journey of growth, education, and faith formation. And as you journey with them, journey also with one another. I understand that each of you will belong to a prayer family that will keep each other in prayer and I think it is a wonderful thing. Stay rooted in prayer, for it is there that we come to know Christ and are able to truly profess that He is the Christ, not because we heard it from someone else but because we have experienced His love ourselves. Amen.