Congratulations to all the young adults who receive the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation this weekend! As you are now fully initiated into the Body of Christ, the Church, may the fullness of His Spirit enlighten you, guide you, strengthen you, and console you. May you be inspired to use the Gifts of the Holy Spirit with which you have been sealed: Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Knowledge, Courage, Reverence, and Fear of the Lord. And may you all grow in holiness and grace. We are proud of you!
Jesus is the “Good Shepherd!” He loves and cares for us like a shepherd cares for His sheep. He takes care of our every need and leads us along the right path. In fact, so much does He care for us that Jesus says, “I would lay down my life for my sheep.”
Of course we know that Christ did in fact lay down His life for us. During Holy Week we celebrated the paschal mystery of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. He literally died for our sake. As we continue to celebrate the Easter Season and rejoice in His glorious resurrection, we recognize that Christ’s loving care for us extends to today. He is actively involved in the life of the Church providing for all of our needs and guiding us along our way.
In response to Christ’s life-giving love it is our responsibility as His disciples to give ourselves in return to Him. We offer Him our whole lives in thanksgiving for all He has done for us. We express this offering of our lives by giving our time, talent, and treasure as an extension of His mission. As His disciples it is our calling and our responsibility to use our lives for His greater glory. Everything we do — at home, at school, at work, and elsewhere — should glorify the Good Shepherd and call others to believe in His loving care.
This coming week I will be going on pilgrimage in Wisconsin. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is in Lacrosse. And the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is in Champion, near Green Bay. Champion is the only place in the United States that is officially approved by the Catholic Church to be an actual site of Mary’s apparition. I will be praying for all of you.
In our Father’s hands,