“Baptism and the Eucharist are the graced gateway to a fully reconciled humanity,” says Bishop Mark Seitz in his pastoral letter “Night Will Be No More.” This week marks the exact midpoint between the Baptism of our Lord, forming one cornerstone of this gateway, and the Easter Triduum during which the Eucharist was instituted. It’s fitting to heed God’s charge to the people of Israel: “Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy…You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart…love your neighbor as yourself.”
In that same letter, Bishop Seitz acknowledges the powerful gift of God necessary to achieve this reconciliation. He points us to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who “shows us that our deepest identity is not given to us by empire, or politics or the economy.” These are all matters that Paul tells us are “the thoughts of the wise…they are vain.”
Both Our Lady of Guadalupe and Jesus “divested himself of the privileges of divinity, ‘taking the form of a slave’, to become flesh like us.” In this manner, they show us exactly how to “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
The Bishop invites us to celebrate and join “every race and color and tribe and people and language and culture [which] are threads in the vibrant and diverse tapestry of the Reign of God.” He urges us to look closely at how “our identity is formed in the grace-filled relationships we freely pursue with God, others and Creation.”
As we look to the coming Lenten journey, which threads are God inviting you to pick up and pursue? Perhaps this invitation will take you along the steps to “keep the word of Christ,” that “the love of God may truly be perfected” in you and your community.
Maura Yepez is a parishioner at St. Ignatius parish in San Francisco, CA. She’s served on a number of committees, including the Solidarity Committee, where she helped write the parish’s Lenten reflection book “Displacement.”