Anthony Merejo of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Ridgewood, NJ, is confirmed by Pope Francis. (CNS/screen grab)
Today Pope Francis confirmed
44 people from all over the world during Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Two of the confirmandi are teenagers from
the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. According
to Catholic News Service, Brigid Miniter, 14, and Anthony Merejo, 17, from Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in
Ridgewood, NJ, chose “Francis” and “Ignatius,” respectively, as
their confirmation names weeks before Pope Franciswho, of course, belongs to
the order founded by St. Ignatiuswas elected Supreme Pontiff.
Below is the full text of Pope Francis’ homily from today’s
by Vatican Radio.
Brothers and Sisters,
would like to offer three short and simple thoughts for your reflection.
In the second reading, we listened to the beautiful vision of Saint John: new
heavens and a new earth, and then the Holy City coming down from God. All is
new, changed into good, beauty and truth; there are no more tears or mourning…
This is the work of the Holy Spirit: he brings us the new things of God. He
comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us. The Spirit changes us! And
Saint John’s vision reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the
heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the
happy day when we will see the Lord’s facethat marvelous face, the most
beautiful face of the Lord Jesusand be with him forever, in his love.
see, the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of
which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new
things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when
we will be with him, but today as well. God is even now making all things new;
the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to
transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to the Spirit, let
ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men
and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How
beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at
school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of
my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!
A second thought. In the first reading Paul and Barnabas say that “we must
undergo many trials if we are to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The journey
of the Church and our own personal journeys as Christians are not always easy;
they meet with difficulties and trials. To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit
transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and
cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in
the world around us but also within us, in the heart. But difficulties and
trials are part of the path that leads to God’s glory, just as they were for
Jesus, who was glorified on the cross; we will always encounter them in life!
Do not be discouraged! We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!
And here I come to my last point. It is an invitation which I make to you,
young confirmandi, and to all present. Remain steadfast in the journey of
faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives
us the courage to swim against the tide. Pay attention, my young friends: to go
against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim
against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage! There are no difficulties,
trials, or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as
branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided
we make ever more room for him in our lives. This is especially so whenever we
feel poor, weak, and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness,
riches to our poverty, conversion and forgiveness to our sinfulness. The Lord
is so rich in mercy: every time, if we go to him, he forgives us. Let us trust
in God’s work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of
being his disciples, his witnesses. Commit yourselves to great ideals, to the
most important things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little
things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble
ideals, my dear young people!
The new things of God, the trials of life, remaining steadfast in the
Lord. Dear friends, let us open wide the door of our lives to the new things of
God which the Holy Spirit gives us. May he transform us, confirm us in our
trials, strengthen our union with the Lord, our steadfastness in him: this is a
true joy! So may it be.