Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The new names that we have been given paves the path of the new life ahead for us.

On the stroke of midnight on Saturday, the world celebrated the end of 2022 and welcomed the new year of 2023.  There is a certain air of expectation and hope in the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world with the approach of a new year.  Many are hoping for a new outlook in life and new hopes in their families and in the area of their jobs.  It’s a given that all things new will give us a better outlook in life and be surrounded by a newness of joy and happiness. 


While this may be something fresh and fills many of us with great expectations, many of us may have forgotten that there was something fresh and new that Christians were all given on the day of their baptism, and this lies in the reception of our baptismal names.  We received our new identities as sons and daughters of God the Father when the Sacrament of Baptism was celebrated.  Most of the time, the names we got were names of saints in the history of the Church, and the hope was that our lives would be patterned after the life of the saints we were named after. 


What caused me to reflect on this was the Gospel text of the Mass on 4 January from the first chapter of John’s gospel, which featured Jesus meeting Andrew and Simon Peter.  He renamed Simon and called him Cephas, which was translated as Rock, and this was because Jesus intended to make him the foundation of His future Church.  From that day on, Simon Peter lived a newness of life, and fulfilled the mission that Jesus gave him with great love and determination. 


Those of us who have been baptized in life do not need to wait for a new year to come to be reminded that we have the inner drive to pursue a mission in life.  It was given to us when the Holy Spirit was given to us in our baptism and our Confirmation.  It would be just an excuse for us to live a sedentary and uncommitted life over and over again.  We have all been given a new mission by Christ himself when God invited us to live a new life of grace in Him in our baptism. 


I’ve heard confession after confession which showed how the penitent was just unwilling to love people like their family members or fellow work mates in their jobs, and try hard as I did, it was just so difficult for them to believe that they really did have it in them if they made a decision to act in love and charity in life.  They would have merely responded to the life of Christ that was given to them at their baptism.  Yet, the reality is that oftentimes, if something is so plain and simple in life, getting that point across to others can be as challenging as climbing a huge and steep obstacle in life. 


But we have to remember that being in a state of grace helps tremendously in our pursuit of holiness in life.  This being in a state of grace is the gift of God that comes to us whenever with deep faith and conviction go to a confessor priest to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation or confession.  I often recommend the penitents avail themselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation about once a month.  This would be particularly recommended to penitents who have a very clear struggle with a particular sin that afflicts them on a regular basis.


What could be helpful to my readers is that they make it a point to do a little research to rediscover the life history of the saint whose names they were given at their baptism.  Doing this can help them chart the course of the life that they aspire to lead as they pass from day to day in 2023.  Rediscover what it is that God is calling you to fulfil in life each day. 


There is no sadder life than to live aimlessly without a clear notion of the kind of sanctity that God wills for one in life.  Calling to mind the dignity that our baptism gave us helps us to live life with a new and holy aim.

1 comment:

  1. Blessed Christmas Fr Luke Fong ! Thank you for the reminder of the monthly Confessions to love Jesus more and more .🙏