The following is the text of my speech that I gave to the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at Crittenden County High School on January 11, 2012, after the invitation of one of my former teachers and good friend, Mrs. Carol West. So without further adieu…
I want to cover three phrases that come from our Lord’s life in my time speaking with you all today. We are just leaving the Christmas Season this Sunday in the Catholic Church as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan River.
Now, being that we are still in the Christmas Season, I wanted to call to our minds to a thought, that we normally don’t consider when we think of Christmas. Usually we think of Joy, peace, The Nativity, Poinsettias, Three kings, Christmas Trees, The three Magi.
When we think of Christmas we don’t usually think of death, pain, torture, sin, the cross, Christ’s passion. But if we think of the meaning of Christmas and the reason that Christ came into this world, we realize that he was born to die for our sins. He was born a sacrifice. This is the reason that Christ came into the world: 1: to do the Father’s will. 2: To Glorify the Father, and 3 To offer his life as reparation for our sins.”
The Three phrases that I want to focus on today are: “Do Not Be afraid, Do Whatever He Tells you, and I Thirst.
The First quote: “Do not Be afraid” comes from the Gospel of Luke, when Gabriel the Archangel appears to Mary. His first words are: “Do Not Be afraid” Now we all know that Mary had much to be frightened of, she has a strange person who says that he is an angel appearing to her in her room, she is told that she is going to give birth to the Son of God,, She is about to leave her family and everything she knows and live in Egypt, she will lose her son in the temple, And after much more, she will see her son, beaten, harasses, spat upon, and crucified all for a people who don’t care about him. She has a lot to be afraid of, yet the angel tells her: “Do Not be afraid”, why? Because God is with her, because God loves her and has chosen her, He has had a plan for her since the beginning of time.
Like Mary, God has a plan for us. He has a special plan for each of you. He knows that there will be trials in your life. He knows that sometimes you will have trouble with finding the strength to carry on. He knows that you will sin, and repent, and then sin some more. He knows each time you and your parent’s fight. He knows about your relationship troubles, he knows everything about you and he has a plan for you. Like Mary, he has a plan for you and for your future. Now he doesn’t send his angel to tell you “Do not be afraid” but that is exactly what he is saying to you. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know well the plans that I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” God has a special plan for you, a special spot for you in his mission. He has something that he is calling you to do. Not what you think you want to do with your life, but something that you have been putting aside and telling him no. He has a vocation for each one of us. A part of his salvific mission that we are to play an important role in. A part of his mission that we are being called to.
God loves you and wants you to come to him and be his.
How we do this? The next quote is from the second chapter of John: “Do, whatever He tells you.” What better advice the Mother of God can give to us, than to tell us to do whatever her son says.
A little aside: Mary and Jesus have both gone to a wedding in Cana and they are enjoying themselves eating and drinking and rejoicing with the bride and the bridegroom. They end up running out of wine and Mary finds out. Being the good Jewish woman that she is, she knows that without wine, the rejoicing cannot continue and the party cannot go on. So she after trying to find wine, comes to Christ and tells him, Son, they are out of wine.
Now we too, when we are burdened down with things of this world go to Christ and ask him for help. Christ turns and says to his Mother in a kind of flat out way, tells her: “Woman, my time has not yet come.” Now I don’t know about you, but if I called my mom woman and told her, that I wasn’t doing something because I wasn’t ready to. I would have got a nice and well-deserved smack, Mary on the other hand looks to the servants and gives them some of the best advice. “Do whatever HE tells you” She takes her problem and hands it over to Jesus, much like we do when we are burdened down. And so Christ performs his first miracle of turning water into wine, all because his mother told him to. All because the servants did whatever he told them to. What in our life are we ignoring Jesus on? What sin do we keep repeating, because it feels good? When we hear something at church that we are called to do, do we do it? How do we live out our call to be Heralds of the Gospel in today’s age?
These 5 words sum up our goals as Christians. Do whatever he tells you. To follow his commandments, to follow the beatitudes, to live his Gospel Message. To come to him.
This is what Christ desires with his whole heart, he wants us to come to him. The next phrase is from when Jesus is hanging on the Cross. “I thirst” What is it that Christ thirsts for? Christ thirsts for us, he thirsts for our souls he thirsts for us to be with him forever in paradise. If we look at Christ upon the Cross we see that he is bearing the weight of our sin upon his shoulders, and when he says I thirst, it is not for what the soldier offers him, but it is for our very soul. Christ thirsts for you to be with him. To repent, to give yourselves over to him.
There is a war that we are in brothers and sisters. It is a war for Christ, a war for Good. The present president’s administration seeks to cast out Christ from the public square. To cast out religious liberties and replace them with the government administered stipulations. We are fighting for our freedoms as Christians, we are fighting for our values. We are living in a world that to be Christian is cross-cultural. It goes against our society. We are told that materialism is good, that the bigger the better, that two kids are enough, that it is okay to kill the child in the womb. We are told that casual sex for pleasure and not for pro-creation is okay. We are told that so-called homosexual marriage is a right and is okay. We are told that being a Christian in support of the family is unnatural, or abnormal. We are told that Christ doesn’t matter, that our religious convictions don’t make us who we are. We are told that scantily clad men and women are okay to look at. That lustful thoughts and actions are only part of the human nature. Christ came to cast aside these beliefs in our society, he came to call us to glory. Christ thirsts for us to cast aside sin and win ourselves and others for him. I want to close with a short meditation from the book: “Consoling the Heart of Jesus. A do it yourself Ignatian Retreat”
(INSERTED MEDITATION HERE (1st Devotion))
We are the soldiers in a battle for Christ. Christ tells us to be not afraid to take up our cross and follow him, his Mother tells us to leave all and follow him by doing whatever he tells us, Christ thirsts for you, do you thirst for him