September 13, 2023 at 9:34 a.m.
CATECHETICAL SUNDAY 2023
‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened’
The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday - “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened” - is captured beautifully by the image of Pope Francis washing and kissing the feet of the poor and marginalized on Holy Thursday. (OSV file photo)
(CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year …” Now that I have put that tune in your head, let me remind you that, as I wrote this, there were only 10 days until Catechetical Sunday on Sept. 17. For me this is indeed one of the most wonderful times of the year!
This is the time when the Church invites us to affirm and bless our catechists — all those who share faith with children, young people and adults in our parishes and Catholic schools. We thank them for saying “yes” to God’s call, and we promise to pray for them as they carry out this most important ministry. As Pope Francis reminds us, “they are people who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others” (Homily, Mass on Day for Catechists, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013).
The theme offered to us for this Catechetical Sunday — and the year ahead — is “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened” (Matthew 11:28). The late Scripture scholar, Father Raymond Brown, calls these words some of the most tender words spoken by Jesus in the Gospels. The image for this theme — Pope Francis washing and kissing the feet of the poor and marginalized on Holy Thursday — captures Jesus’ words so beautifully! What would it be like if every catechist (and every one of us) could make this particular “memory of God” come alive in themselves and in others? It would be like this:
We would remember that Jesus is always calling each of us to come to him. He never tires of inviting us — whoever we are, wherever we are on life’s journey, with whatever burdens — great or small — we bear.
We would believe that Jesus is truly close to us — ready to bathe us in his love and mercy just as he washed the feet of his disciples on that first Holy Thursday.
We would live what Jesus said — and still says — to every disciple — “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).
So, what would it be like if we kept this memory of God alive? As another song says, it would be “a wonderful world.” Or, as Jesus said, “the kingdom of God has come near …” (Mark 1:15).
May it be so!
David Amico is the diocesan director of the Office for Discipleship Formation, formerly the Office of Lay Ministry and Parish Faith Formation.