Catechumens and candidates from throughout Hamilton diocese travelled to the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton on March 10 for the Rite of Election.
In this rite, leading up to the Easter sacraments, the bishop “chooses” these people and elects them in the name of the Lord and of the local Church.
They are accompanied by sponsors and supporters.
At the 10.30am Sunday Mass in the cathedral in Hamilton, Bishop Stephen Lowe said in his homily that the readings of the day were about the journey of faith, and this had particular reference to the catechumens and candidates present.
“And I just think of you people who are here, preparing to receive the Easter sacraments, and I am just wondering, what the Lord put into your hearts that has made you want to take this journey?
“What is that thing that has been working away in your heart and mind so that you know deep within yourself this is the right thing to do?
“[It is] the presence of the Lord, isn’t it, the presence of the Spirit, leading us, always leading us.”
But “the evil one” wants to lead us away, “wants us to give up on following the Word of God . . . not seeking God in our lives . . . not trusting him”.
“One of the things I love about Pope Francis,” Bishop Lowe said, “is he reminds us constantly about the work of the evil one, the evil spirit.”
Bishop Lowe preached about the temptations faced in the desert by Jesus and how these temptations apply to members of the Church today too.
The bishop noted, with reference to the saying by the Lord about people not living by bread alone, that there is a temptation to “just always look after my own needs”.
But in the Lord’s Prayer, we ask not for “my” daily bread, but for “our” daily bread.
“We just don’t live our lives for ourselves, but for the good of others,” Bishop Lowe said.
With reference to the devil’s attempt to receive worship, the bishop said “that is the great temptation for us. To worship things that are not of God and are not God; we [need to] keep our eyes fixed on God.”
And in terms of not putting God to the test, Bishop Lowe said that “the more that we go down our own path, the more that we lose sight of God, the more that the Christian community loses sight of God, the more the world loses the sight of God”.
“The great test for us is — are we going to be faithful? Because we follow the faithful one, the one who is faithful to the will of the Father. . . .”
Bishop Lowe addressed the people who are to receive the Easter sacraments, saying they are to be like Jesus — having faith in a loving God and being faithful.
In the way of Jesus is the fullness of love and life, he added.