Each year the Catholic Church commissions Catechists, who are teachers of the Catholic faith. Today has been set aside for commissioning of Catechists and their assistants. Catechists not only teach religion, they share and manifest their individual experience with God. They share their experience of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the First Reading today we hear that the prophet Ezekiel was appointed as a watchman, so that the people would remain faithful to truth. So that is what Catechists do – they make sure that the truth of the Catholic Church is preserved. They teach the boundaries of Church law, the teachings of Christ. We are all familiar with boundaries – we drive in the single lane of traffic (hopefully); we are familiar with boundaries on the football field, for instance. We know what an out of bounds pass is, and in baseball we are familiar with a foul ball, or a fair ball. We are all very much accustomed to living an orderly life – it is a blessing given to us from God, who created us to make choices in life that are within those boundaries. It is one of the reasons that we may be upset when we hear of violence: It upsets our sense of order.
So, that is what the Second Reading talks about. What are the commandments? The Commandments are God’s description of how we should live – out of respect for our lives and the lives of others. The Commandments offer us boundaries. The Commandments talk about the respect for the dignity of marriage between a man and a woman. The family is the basic and foundational relationship in every society. It is the right of every child to have an honorable mother and father, committed to one another, and living out their faith. The Commandments talk about respecting the life of each person–we shall not kill. Jesus said do not even be angry. Imagine what our lives would be like, if we were never angry with one another. This is an example of what God desires for us – it is our way to peace.
Then, turn to the Gospel – forgiveness is at the top of the list. That is why we have a crucifix when you come to the church, because it reminds us that the matter how horribly we treated Christ – He was still forgiving so that we may have peace and eternal life. Forgiveness is an active virtue, not passive. It doesn’t mean just ignoring someone, or refusing to talk to him or her, it means that we actively engage and decide to forgive.
So today we honor those who have decided to actively step forward and teach. I am sure as with every adventure we undertaken the Lord we may feel unworthy- we are. Christ makes us worthy. The Holy Spirit will continue to guide each one of them. We pray that their example of active participation in the life of the Church will inspire us to work more effectively to preserve the life that Christ intends for us, and the society for which God hopes – where we live in peace and love toward one another.