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Sunday Homily, 26 May 2024 - Fr Paul Rowse, OP

Years ago, probably long before our memories start, we were baptized.  Our parents brought us to the church all dressed in white – much like our candidates for first Holy Communion are today.  The priest poured holy water, blessed water, on our forehead and said: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” – just as the Lord commanded him in our Gospel reading.  At that moment, we became a son or daughter of God, like the Lord Jesus is.  At our baptism, we were adopted by God the Father as his own children.

At our baptism, the Holy Spirit also entered our life.  Ever since then, he has been giving us an appreciation of spiritual things: because of the Holy Spirit, Catholic churches feel like home; because he is the Spirit of the Father, priests are like fathers; because he is the Spirit of the Son, the saints are our heavenly friends, and everything is drawing us in.  We feel like we’re being drawn towards something we cannot see – not irresistibly so, like magnets, but like how cold people are drawn into a warm house.

The Spirit has acquainted us with God our loving Father.  As the sons and daughters of the Father, we are like God the Son, whom he loves and draws towards himself in love.  And in that same love, the Father is drawing us to himself.  I hope you always feel the call to come home to us.  This is home because we are God’s family: he chose us, so we belong here.  When we were born, we found ourselves in our family, where love, mutual care, shared responsibility are all found.  When we were baptized, we were reborn into God’s family.  We belong to each other.  We share life’s experiences, which God makes into moments when his grace is given to us.  So, we have our baptisms, weddings, and funerals, but also our celebrations of growth and love and mission, and healings for the body and soul.  No Christian need feel isolated in daily life if they come home to the family to which they belong.

And now, God our Father is going to feed you for the first time.  Our candidates are about to make the first Holy Communion, the first of many, we pray.  This is our daily Bread and our dearest Treasure – and it is yours.  You will receive into your own bodies the Body of Christ in the appearance of bread.  We know that the bread and wine changes inwardly, spiritually, into the Body of Christ.  It is his Body you are about to receive, and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.  And because you belong here, because the Father draws you here, Holy Communion can be made often.  Whenever you’re at Mass and your soul is pure, from now on, you can have Holy Communion with us.  This sacrament is how we are united as one family; this sacrament is how we are provided for by our loving Father.

Thanks be to God that we are one family.  By Baptism into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are reborn into this spiritual family.  By Holy Communion, that family is made visible and nourished to be of service and to witness to our neighbours.  May we always answer the Father’s call as his loving sons and daughters with Christ to be made by the Holy Spirit into what he thinks best for us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as he was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fr Paul Rowse, OP

Parish Priest

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