Archbishop Gustavo tells students, teachers we are still called by God to share hope and faith with
September 23, 2019 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper
Archbishop Gustavo tells students, teachers we are still called by God to share hope and faith with the world
A Back to School Mass for the newly-named St. José Sanchez del Rio Catholic School was celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, in the campus gym on Aug. 10. At the end of the liturgy, the archbishop blessed the students, faculty, and staff, and the youth presented Archbishop Gustavo with a painted rock as a commemorative gift.
Just two months ago, the Holy Father Pope Francis reminded everyone that whatever happens, hope does not disappoint. “It is a hope that leaves peace and joy inside, regardless of what happens outside. It is a hope that has strong roots, which no storm of life can uproot,” he said on June 16.
The Scriptures at the Aug. 10 school Mass reminded listeners that we are the people “the Lord has chosen to be his own” (Ps).
“We have been called to trust in the Lord. We are called to be people of hope, people of faith,” said the archbishop, who also acknowledged, “These days it can be hard to see God’s presence. There is so much sadness. People are so angry. We can even fall into these traps ourselves. The world has a hard time seeing reasons for faith.”
The Letter to the Hebrews states that, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
“Our world teaches us that we need to protect ourselves from disappointment. It teaches us not to trust,” the archbishop continued. “But the Gospel challenges us with the opposite. The Lord has chosen us, and he asks us to choose to follow him into a future we do not fully understand.”
He added, “This is what love calls us to do. Love means putting ourselves into the unknown. Married couples do not know what to expect in their lives together, but they walk together in love. Priests and religious cannot know everything that is going to happen in their lives, but we say yes anyway and walk with the Church. We do this because of love.”
Archbishop Gustavo challenged the faithful to remember our trust in the Lord. “When the world says to be ready for what’s coming, it means something very different than what God means. The Gospel demands that we ‘must be prepared.’ But what does that look like for people of hope?” he asked.
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit explained that to be prepared is to live in peace and trust in the Lord. “You all know well that living in peace can be very difficult. Every day a new struggle, or worry, or pain can happen. People let us down, governments play games with the lives of their people, and tragedies strike the innocent,” the archbishop lamented.
“How can we have peace in our hearts with all of this going on?” he queried, responding, “The answer is because we have hope.”
The San Antonio prelate made clear that the world will ask, “How can you have hope when you cannot see things getting better?” Our answer is, again, he repeated, “faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
“We do not hope because God has eliminated pain from the world. We do not have faith because we know all the answers,” he emphasized. “We have peace in our hearts because we have encountered the Lord, and he has shared his life with us. When we find ourselves in despair, when we are angry, and when we struggle to forgive, this is the moment to remember the love of God.”
The archbishop described how the Lord has chosen us as his people, made us in his image, and forgiven us of sin. “He has loved us even when we have proven unworthy. This is the cause of my peace. God loves me, no matter what,” he stressed. “So, I can be at peace and love him – and everyone he loves – no matter what. This is the core of our faith. We have hope in the things we cannot see, because we have indeed seen the love of God.”
In closing comments, Archbishop Gustavo challenged the congregation to remember that despair cannot break into the kingdom built by God. “Be people of hope and faith. Be prepared to share your peace with those who are distracted by the world,” he concluded. “Put your trust in the love of the Lord. Our faith does not disappoint.”