THE YEAR OF MERCY
a special year of grace and indulgences
a year for forgiveness and pardon!
Our God is a God of Mercy and Forgiveness …
God’s Mercy is manifested in the Cross of Jesus Christ
Life is a gift from God
Children are God’s gift to us …
Dear Members of the English Speaking Catholic Community,
On the 19th of June, we celebrated at our Mission a joyful event with our children who received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion, the gift of life. Our children are a gift from God to us. They opens us up to the future that brings a close link between the hopes of people and harmony between generations. Children are a gift from God not only to parents but also to society. Children are a joy of the family, of society and of the Church.
Each child is unique and unrepeatable. Children are loved even before they are able to come into this world. To be a son or a daughter according to God's plan, means carrying in oneself the memory and hope of a love that has become tangible by kindling the life of another human being. Children are loved even before having done anything to deserve it, before being able to speak or to think, even before being. This love is gratuitousness, like the love of God, who always loves us first.
In the multiplication of generations, we find the mystery of God’s plan for all humankind. God places the seal of his love on every child, which is the basis of his or her personal dignity, a dignity that nothing and nobody can destroy. Therefore, children need to be taught to honour God our creator above all, and their parents, “Honour your father and your mother” (Ex 20,12; Dt 5,16). This is the fourth commandment of God. It further concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family that commands love, affection and gratitude towards elders and ancestors. It introduces the subsequent commandments that are particular to the respect for human life, marriage, earthly goods, action and speech. It constitutes the foundations of the social doctrine of the Church.
None of us want to live in a sick society that destroys human life!
A society of children, who do not honour God and their parents generates a society without honour. A society of children, who are not taught to live in the fear and love of God our creator, becomes a material and consuming society. A society of children, who are not accompanied to live the faith and the commandments of God, becomes an impoverished and sick society. Parents therefore have a great responsibility to bring up their children with love, to be educated and responsible citizens, to introduce them to catechism, to assist them in the Sacraments and life of faith in the Church. Our children, our sons and daughters are all a gift from God to us to form one Family of God in our wold. This is God’s plan because God himself is the giver of life!
Receiving the Sacrament of First Holy Communion is an important step in the life of every baptized child. The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Holy Communion in which Christ is consumed goes back to the Last Supper, on that night when Christ was betrayed, when Christ instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood, for the forgiveness of sins of all. It is a perpetuation of the sacrifice of the cross for all ages, given by Christ to his Church. It is a Sacrament of love, a sign of unity and a bond of charity, when we are blessed and the pledge of future glory promised to us. How fortunate is one to receive the Body of Christ in his/her heart!
Our children and we too call this Sacrament “Holy Communion”. Since this Sacrament is inexhaustible in its richness, there are also other names in usage to express it, thus evoking different aspects of its essence and meaning. For example: the word Eucharist because it is an act of thanksgiving to God; or the Lord’s Supper because of Christ’s supper with his disciples before his passion and the anticipation of our total communion in his kingdom; or the Breaking of Bread because it is by this action his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection; or the Holy Sacrifice because it is the one sacrifice of Christ the Saviour and includes the Church’s offering. Since this Sacrament completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant, terms for example, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, sacrifice of praise, pure and holy sacrifice are also used.
We may receive Holy Communion every day when we participate in Holy Mass. When we receive Holy Communion, we unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life. It sums up our entire faith. It is the efficacious sign of our unity with God and with the entire Family of God – the Church. It is indeed the subline action of God sanctifying the world in Christ and the greatest thanksgiving prayer of human persons to almighty God. If we understand these consequences, we are sure to give more attention to our life and attend Holy Mass, at least on every Sunday, to praise and to thank God.
While we thank God for our children, we also thank our children at their First Holy Communion day, because they are the ones who remind us adults, of the greatness of this Sacrament, the purity of heart at which we too first received Holy Communion, the unity to God and to each other that this Sacrament embraces. Are we not able to learn from our children as well? Do we not want to accompany all children to Holy Mass on Sundays? Children are God’s gift to us. Life is a gift from God!
Cletus Colaço SVD.
Leiter der Englischsprachigen Katholischen Gemeinde.