The Church of Jesus is the primary Sacrament – the making flesh of the divine mystery of God's love in the world. Everything we do as members of the Church is a sharing in the mission of Jesus. We are uniquely poised to serve the world, to reach out in love to those who feel isolated and unloved.
Our life of prayer and our sharing in the sacraments of the Church build us up and sustain us for that mission. Jesus says, 'May they be one, Father, as we are one. May they be so completely one, that the world will know it was you who sent me.'
This is the first of all the sacraments and usually received in the first few weeks or months of a child's life; it is the initiation into the life of Jesus and his Church. For this reason it is a great celebration for the family and the parish as we welcome a new member.
Adults also sometimes choose to become members of the Church, often after much prayer and reflection on their lives; this is a life-changing decision for them – they too are welcomed with much joy.
This sacrament is the next step on the individual's journey of faith when they truly become part of the Body of Christ in communion with the whole Church. Really believing the words of Jesus: 'This is my Body; this is my Blood', is a central part of belonging to the Catholic Church. And … it is a sacrament that we share in each time we come to Mass.
In this sacrament we experience the tender words of Jesus when he says, 'Your sins are forgiven'. It is a sacred and unique opportunity to 'be ourselves' in the presence of God whose love overwhelms our weaknesses and frailties and restores to health for service of God's people. It is a sacrament that we can never tire of sharing in.
Confirmation is the sacrament which builds on all aspects of our relationship with God and enables us to live a new life in the Holy Spirit – to experience the wisdom of God and know that his love for us and his Church is unquenchable. This is the love which sustains and encourages us to give ourselves completely to God.
From the earliest days of the Church and following the example of Jesus in the Gospels, the Church has reached out to the frail, the sick and the dying. This sacrament of anointing and communion offers comfort, strength and healing to those who reach out in their need – and supports those who care for them; it can be administered at any time of need and is no longer termed 'the last rites'.
Christ gives his life that we too might have life; marriage is the principal way in which men and women give their lives to each other in order that each might grow in love together, and often be blest with new life in their children. Their love for each other is a sharing in the self-sacrificing love of Jesus who says, 'I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance'.
Jesus is the High Priest who offers the ultimate sacrifice for all the children of God – the sacrifice of his life. Some men are called to share in an explicit way that offering of sacrifice and service of God's people and are ordained for that unique witness. Their role is to serve the people, to preach the Word of holy scripture and to celebrate the sacraments.
Some men and women, although not specifically ordained, also bear unique witness through their commitment to the Religious Life – they are often called Sisters and Brothers or monks and nuns.
All who bear the name of Christian – married, single, divorced, widowed, priest and religious, young and old, strong and weak - have a very special vocation in the life of the Church.
And … all are welcomed in this parish of Holy Trinity, Worsley.