By now we have all opened our Christmas gifts. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t eagerly rip the paper off in anticipation and then expressed appreciation for the thoughtfulness that went into either making or purchasing the item. Like the Christmas cards and exchanged phone calls, gifts send a simple yet important message. “You are not forgotten.”
The greatest gift of all is God himself in the Trinity. God also gave us the gift of his Church. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that Jesus gave us the gift of the Church. Had it not been for the Church, I would never have heard of Jesus Christ, let alone be invited into a personal and loving relationship with him.
After about 2,000 years and about 80 generations the good news of Jesus Christ is still being preached. People are giving their lives to God everyday and our world is getting better, one person at a time.
Some of the greatest gifts that God continues to give us are the sacraments.
Through baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and are cleansed of Original Sin and are accepted into the Body of Christ.
Through Eucharist we enter more deeply into union with Jesus as he once again gives himself to us and we to him.
In Confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit in a new way, and we commit ourselves to following Jesus and his Church.
In the sacrament of Reconciliation, we confess our sins, are forgiven and receive the grace to begin again.
In the sacrament of Marriage, a man and woman enter a holy union and a family is born.
Through Holy Orders one becomes a priest or bishop and commits himself to a life of service.
The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick not only asks God for healing, but prepares us for death, our journey to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus created the Church as a gift to us, that through her we might fulfill our purpose in life, that of knowing, loving, and serving God and each other and to achieve the goal of eternal happiness.
It’s the New Year. My wish for you is that you would seriously consider accepting the great gift of the Church and explore its many benefits. Consider this an invitation to either begin or return to a living relationship with God as given to us through the Church. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”