Be missionaries

It’s the Easter season. It’s springtime — warmer days, longer days, sunnier days. The grass is greener, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. All these are signs of new life, signs of a new beginning, a renewed hope and a promise of a new life. After a long winter this is exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Isn’t it all very exciting? 

 God is creating something new in you — a bubbling spring of joy that splashes into the lives of all people you meet. This isn’t an ordinary, temporary kind of joy like a gift on your birthday. This is God’s joy that comes from the Holy Spirit living in you. God’s joy is like the fizz in soda trapped inside the bottle and waiting to spill over and bless all those around you when it is released. Think of God’s joy also like your ambition — sometimes it can hardly be contained. This is what I see in young people when they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. They are so eager to get involved and begin their Christian adult life in the Church. They want to be missionaries and the Church welcomes them as she welcomes you.

But, take it slowly, take it easy. Start with the small and simple things that matter most. These are most pleasing to God. Be patient. Only God knows what you can do best for others. You only need to let yourselves be His instrument. After all, Confirmation is a beginning. It’s a continuation of living a Sacramental life. The youth group at my parish held a Living Stations of the Cross on Palm Sunday. All year long they have been visiting the elderly at area nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. At every visit the elderly are filled with much joy and gratitude. So much so that this year some of them wanted to show a greater appreciation — they attended the Stations of the Cross. They came on foot! They came in their wheelchairs. They came with their canes. They came! Nothing was going to stop them from seeing the young people who brought smiles to their faces all year long. That was the best “Thank You” ever! Our youth were delighted — their hard work was rewarded, prayerfully! Their missionary work continues.

For those of you already Confirmed in the faith, think back to your own Confirmation. What did it mean to you at that time? Is the joy and excitement of that celebration still alive in you today? Are you still living your Confirmation? I’ve experienced first-hand that young people who are involved share more freely, without fear, their personal feelings, social concerns and their faith. Being involved even makes participating at Mass more exciting because there is a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Eucharist. They understand community and that they are a part of it, living stones in communion with one another. It’s like school; the more you’re involved in extra-curricular activities, for example, the more you appreciate your school, your education and the effort it takes to accomplish your goals.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is the beginning of your faith journey. It’s a new life for you in our Catholic Church. So, be excited and be ambitious, but be prudent. Start off in small ways, but do them with the greatest of love. The world seems cruel at times and you want to go out there and make things good again. You want to reach out to others and help. Don’t do it alone! Allow God to help you! He will give you His love, which is perfect, unlimited and always available. Ask God to love others through you and His Presence will bless not only you, but also all those around you. 

Live your Confirmation! Go into the world and become a witness and disciple of Christ. Begin today! Accept the renewed hope. Live the promise of a new life. Be missionaries as we are all called to be. Happy Easter and God bless! 

Anchor columnist Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.

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