by Fr Joachim Robert
Jesus Draw Me Closer To You
Today we rejoice with all these seventeen young people as they receive Jesus for the first time. And I am sure as much as they are excited, that excitement as well comes with anxiety, with fear, not only for them but for all those around them, even the parents, even the adults, even the choir, even the altar servers, even each and every one of you.
And that form of excitement, that form of enthusiasm, dear friends, makes us realise of who we are as a Child of God. Because each time we step into the divine presence of God, we tremble. We are fearful because the invitation that the Lord has given us is such a magnitude.
And I was listening to some of the confessions yesterday, many of them had a lot to share and they too had a lot to make me learn as well. In their own journey of life, dear friends, in their own small little way, they do struggle in being a witness to Jesus Christ in their life, in the way of how they should treat others as much as how God has treated them.
All these little ones, dear friends, gives an inspiration to put and fix their gaze on Jesus. And the Second Reading to the Letter of Hebrew says “Let us not lose sight of Jesus who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.” The invitation that you have received, dear friends, is an invitation that is given to you by God at our baptism. And that journey that we take at baptism leads us and moves us towards the perfection of life that God wants of us – to be free, to be liberated, to be joyful, and that is what all of us long for.
Well, during that journey, we will have some excitement, some fears, as how we are experiencing now just like all of them. But that reminds us, dear friends, that today we are encountering God. That encounter which makes us realise of how small, of how finite we are to the infinite love that God gives us. And that movement towards perfection is not easy. That movements towards perfection demands that we die to ourselves so that we can say ‘Yes‘ to Jesus.
In the same way of how Prophet Jeremiah in the First Reading of today tells us. And his whole story of he being persecuted for what he believes in also gives us an opportunity to tell us that the way that we carry our cross or when we fix our gaze on Jesus, it is a call that is demanding. And sometimes we are sidelined. Sometimes we are rejected because of the faith that we have in God. But sometimes there are also people like Ebed-melech who comes to speak to the king to ensure that Jeremiah gets a right judgment.
And each one of us, dear friends, as we move in this path of perfection to become who God meant us to be makes us realise that we are deeply loved by God. And sometimes when we fix our gaze on Jesus, just as how Jesus in the Gospel today was resolute in His direction or His journey towards Jerusalem, He was able to ensure that the Father’s will was important. And all those of us who follow Jesus have to remember that sometimes it causes division, sometimes it cause obstacles but those obstacles and those challenges, dear friends, makes us realise and makes us be given the opportunity to see how we love God.
So today I would like to speak to my friends a little bit.
So dear friends, all our young people today, are you excited to receive Jesus? A little excited or this much or this much? This much? Really? That much of excitement you have.
And in this opportunity dear friends, that excitement that they have makes us realise that we too can experience the same love and the mercy that God has given to us. And as they step forward to acknowledge the love and the mercy of God in their lives, because during the confession I asked them this question: How much do you think that God loves you? This much? This much? Or this much? How much?
And very often they say this much. When I asked them are they good, they say this much. But sometimes, dear friends, we need to remember that that invitation that God has given to them makes us realise that we too are loved by God. And the cross stands as the symbol of God’s love for us and that is the divine presence of God that you receive. That is the divine presence of God that each one of us come to experience each time we come to the Eucharistic table.
So today we rejoice together with you, yeah, we rejoice together with you, together with all our community as well because when we allow faith to be flourished, faith to mature, we know that it is not only one person’s responsibility. As individual, dear friends, you too are responsible for your own faith. Right?
Are you responsible for your faith and you want to grow closer to Jesus? Yes? You want to be the best person that God wants you to be?
In the same way, dear friends, we too are called to have the perfection of life that God gives to us. We must remember that God gives us this opportunity, this life here on earth to remember that His love is far, far greater then we have our own selves.
And the love of God transforms us, molds us and shapes us into more and more into the image that God wants of us. And that journey as the witness that they take today in their faith journey is also a reminder for all of us that we too need to take that same journey or we have taken that step, journey together with them because we fix our gaze on Jesus. We have obstacles, we have challenges but in building a community, in building a house, in building a family, in building a community, all of us need to remember that this is an invitation that the Lord gives us. Sometimes it is challenging, sometimes it is demanding. But are we willing to take that step forward to allow the Eucharist to nourish us and to take that step forward together with Him?
Are you all ready to take the step forward together, to say yes to Jesus in every moment fo your lives? Yes?
So can we resound and say together with them: Are you ready to follow Jesus?
Once again, are you ready to follow Jesus?
Are you ready to follow Jesus?
And let us begin, dear friends, this journey that makes us realize that God loves us and that God wants what is best for us as we come to the table of the Lord as He nourishes us with the Eucharist and the word of life.
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