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Bishop Jaime Soto

Joy and Hope

by Bishop
Jaime Soto





Catechists: Inspire children and young people


The following is the homily that was delivered at Catechist Ministry Day Sept. 26 at St. Francis High School.


In the first reading today, the prophet, Isaiah, is swept up in a vision of the holy city, Jerusalem (Is. 2.2-5). The city is a great gathering place for all of God’s creatures. More than just a thriving metropolis for social and economic exchange, Jerusalem is where the nations would gather as one to worship the one God and share together in peace his many blessings.


This awesome, prophetic vision is still the hope of many people of different faiths who see Jerusalem as sacred site. The Temple Mount is still revered as the dwelling place of the almighty unseen God. His spirit is believed to dwell there. For that reason, much of the unfortunate and tragic politics of the Middle East make the desired peace of Jerusalem still unattainable because no one wishes to relinquish possession of the holy Temple Mount — so precious is that place.


El profeta nos presenta con un contraste de metáforas muy dramática. Habla de las espadas y lanzas, armas de guerra, convertidos en herramientas de cultivación, los arados y podaderas. Este contraste de metáforas nos habla en una manera muy elocuente de la tarea de hoy. El ministerio de la catequista implica predicar la palabra de Dios en tal forma que los talentos y dones de cada ser humano sean utilizados para la cultivación del ser humano y no para su destrucción.


As attractive as the city of Jerusalem is for the Christian pilgrim and as strong our affection for the place where the Lord Jesus would culminate his saving mission, our longing gaze looks beyond the majestic walls of that ancient city to the “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” From this new city a loud voice from the throne bellows and beckons us, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away.” (Rev. 21.2-4)


Otra imagen que nos da la primera lectura del profeta Isaías es la de una sociedad unificada y fortalecida por una convivencia de paz y reconciliación. El profeta hablaba de la antigua ciudad de Jerusalén. Nosotros ponemos nuestra mirada en la visión profética de la nueva Jerusalén nutrida por el cuerpo y la sangre de Jesús.


We gather around this altar drawn to this apocalyptic vision, this prophetic hope. We come heeding the voice of the Good Shepherd who draws us to himself. By this gathering, the Lord himself makes holy this place because his spirit that dwells in our hearts now finds a resonance in this communion of hearts and minds seeking the one heart and mind of Christ.


Our assembly not only anticipates what we believe. Christ Jesus brings himself, who is our hope, and entrust this hope into our hands. The apocalyptic vision of the apostle John becomes visible in the glimmer of the new heaven and a new earth gathered here. The prophetic vision of Isaiah now empowers our hands to turn spears into pruning hooks and bend swords into plowshares.


La tarea de la catequista no es solo comunicar información religiosa y doctrinal a sus alumnos. Hay que trabajar con la intención de colaborar con Jesús en la edificación de la nueva Jerusalén, la ciudad santa del Pueblo de Dios. Hay que dedicarse a la labor catequética con el motivo de formar y preparar los ciudadanos que compartirán en la convivencia de caridad y esperanza del reino de Dios.


The Word makes his dwelling among us and creates that one holy city out of our diversity. We become one body with Christ as our head. We are the living stones of the one holy temple of which Paul speaks where our own lives become one offering in union with Christ to the greater glory of God. We are the priestly people consecrated in the truth of that extraordinary charity of Christ on the cross. We are “no longer strangers and sojourners” but “fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” … In Christ we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Eph. 2. 19-22)


As we begin another year of catechetical endeavors, more than the content you will impart, inspire the children and young people you will instruct with an awareness of their identity as members of a priestly people and fellow citizens of that New Jerusalem to which Christ has called us.


Comprometámonos a la misión de cultivar un pueblo sacerdotal y una nación consagrada.


In this Year for Priests, we begin to understand the ministerial priesthood when we appreciate the priesthood of all the faithful. By our common baptism, we are all called to share in the priesthood of Christ. We are called to make ourselves a spiritual offering in union with Christ who offered himself as priest and victim upon the altar of the cross.


By sharing in the sacrificial life of Christ we become fellow citizens of that New Jerusalem where “he will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away.” It is this citizenship that gives meaning and purpose to our citizenship in American society.


Our faith in the power of Christ’s sacrifice and our hope in the kingdom to come inspire us to works of charity for the homeless, the helpless and the hopeless. Our personal encounter with the Lord Jesus commits us to announce the truth that sets us free from the scourge of abortion and the ravages of war. As citizens of that eternal city of light we let shine the true beauty of sexuality expressed in the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. Our longing for the kingdom to come compels us to bring the hope of that kingdom to the unemployed, the homeless, the immigrant and all those who left behind.


Nuestro trabajo comienza aquí, en esta obra de amor. Nuestro compromiso encuentra su inspiración en el compromiso total de Cristo Jesús. La Eucaristía es el corazón de la vida cristiana.


All of this begins here at the Eucharist, the heart of the New Jerusalem. Christ has drawn us together to worship the truth revealed in the love of Christ crucified. This love consecrates us in truth. This love sends us to our ministry in the world. We cannot confine the divine charity we celebrate here to the four walls of our churches. We must not hide the light of truth revealed here under the roofs of our classrooms.


Together we are consecrated as a priestly people and fellow citizens of the New Jerusalem so that Christ’s prayer might be fulfilled in us. Father, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that … the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn. 7.17-23)



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