September 13, 2023 at 9:41 a.m.

WE WILL FIND REST IN THE LOVING ARMS OF GOD

Three reflections for Catechetical Sunday 2023.
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)
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) (Courtesy photo of Kham)

By Mary Fay

Catechetical Sunday celebrates the vocation to share our knowledge of God and how much we are each God’s beloved child. An invitation bestowed on us at our Baptism. God’s mercy and love can only be spread in the world if we each share our experience. Families can practice this vocation in the simple act of loving each other. But showing mercy is where we sometimes struggle in our family life. Our faults and challenges are seen daily by those closest to us, our family members. Learning to love each other through our weakness can feel like a chore.

The passage from St. Matthew that was chosen as this year’s theme — ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened’ — is well suited to help families remember that God’s love is with us in the times of trial as well as joy. The final words from that line of scripture promises if we bring our challenges to God, that God will give us rest.  All members of our family need this reassurance. Today’s parents are perpetually tired and burdened by the daily duties of raising their family. Today’s young people are bombarded by the media and influences that distract them from growing their gifts and talents. Our elder family members are concerned for the future and how they can continue to contribute to the world around them. We need to stay inspired to remember where our rest is waiting for us, in the loving arms of God.

Mary Fay is the associate diocesan director for Marriage and Family Ministries, Pastoral Care and Respect Life.

***

God is waiting for us

BY ERIN MUIR

It seems like there is always another meeting to attend, another family to meet with, another event to plan. At home, there’s another meal to cook, more dishes to wash, another chore to complete. It is as if the work never ends. When we do manage to sit for a minute, all our worries and concerns can flood our minds and weary us even more.

When Christ says: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest,” the rest he wants to give us is not a rest that we can give ourselves through a good night’s sleep or a nice vacation. It’s a much deeper rest, a rest for the soul, a rest from all our restlessness. We must be intentional and give ourselves permission to slow down, to pause, and to rest in him. To trust that God is faithful to his word. God wants to give us rest.

When I hear this, I imagine Christ standing before me, arms open wide, ready, waiting to embrace me, to rescue me from my struggles, and to give me the rest I so long for. He holds out his hand and he waits.

Erin Muir is the associate diocesan director for Administration & Programs.

***

A more flexible ministry

By DAVID STAGLIANO

I would like to share a few thoughts about ministry to the adolescent community in relation to the theme for the upcoming catechetical year. Over the past several years there has been a concern and movement to re-engage our young people (those tweens and teens) in the faith communities. Having gone through several years of separation and many alternatives to participating in their local faith communities, many adolescents have chosen to either walk away, participate under duress or have willingly made the choice to learn and participate in their faith. In any of these cases, we all must be open to what that young person has experienced and be the one of many persons to accompany them on their faith journey. In paragraph No. 204 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Christus Vivit,” he says, “Youth Ministry needs to become more flexible: inviting young people to events or occasions that provide an opportunity not only for learning, but also for conversing, celebrating, singing, listening to real stories and experiences of a shared encounter with the living God.”

Pope Francis gives us permission to allow our young people to not only be accompanied by adults, but to also allow them to accompany us on our faith journey as well. Experiences and sharing of those experiences across generations is how we can all grow in faith and recognize Jesus among us.

David Stagliano is the associate diocesan director for Youth Ministry.


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