“You are being baptized for mission.”
That’s the message Bishop Gruss shared with more than 100 candidates and catechumens who are preparing to receive the Easter sacraments.
They gathered at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption on Sunday, March 8 during the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. This is the final period of spiritual formation before receiving the Easter sacraments.
Those who are non-baptized are referred to as “catechumens”, and those who are already baptized but are not yet in full-communion with the Catholic Church are called “candidates.”
In his homily, Bishop Gruss thanked the candidates and catechumens for their response to God’s call, drawing parallels to the day’s first reading from the Book of Genesis in which Abraham heard God’s call, stepped out of his comfort zone and put his faith and trust in the Lord to follow His call.
“Hearing and answering God’s invitation is not always comfortable. In many ways, it requires us to take a risk with God … a risk in leaving what is familiar and comfortable to us to chart new territory,” Bishop Gruss said. “Like Abraham and Sarah, each one of you has a unique story in this mystery of God’s call. Each one of you has a unique story in how your life story has brought you to faith. How your life story has brought you to this moment, to this very moment in your life.”
Bishop Gruss told the candidates and catechumens that they are not only joining a parish community, but also entering the mission field.
“You are being baptized for a mission, not for membership ... for a mission,” he said. “The sacraments of initiation which you will receive in a few short weeks are not just your entry into the very holiness of God … it’s not only your entry into the sacramental life of the Catholic Church, but it will be your commission to go and then live out the mission of Jesus Christ in the world today, not as a passive bystander but as an active, intentional disciple of Jesus in the world today …
“The demand that flows from the sacraments is not to be taken lightly. You are accepting not a life of mediocrity and shallow religiosity. You are accepting a personal call to a life of faith and hope and love that’s empowered by the Holy Spirit so that you can give your life away as Jesus did ... as his disciples did ... as all the saints did. He saved us and He has called us— you and me, all of us— to a holy life, and this is accomplished, dear friends, by surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ each and every day, seeking His will and His desire for you.”
As he often does, Bishop Gruss encouraged those gathered to post a prayer on their mirror to see daily: “Lord Jesus, reveal your will for me today, so that I can say yes to that.”