Different experiences can put new vision on familiar readings.
I can now look at today’s Gospel in a whole new way. I started working in my new role as Sacramental Co-ordinator in Rathfarnham parish a few months ago and now it has given me a whole new perspective on this passage. I now have the opportunity to be involved with young people as they prepare for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. I can see all the possibilities, the hope, the fun and the interest they have in knowing everything!
The children and their parents had to say ‘YES’ to continuing their faith journey. The parents had to ask for the children to be enrolled to start the preparatory programme for the sacrament of First Communion. (Confirmation commitment comes after Christmas). Most children and their parents said yes, but some did not.
To go forward or not, to continue on their Catholic faith journey, is now a matter of choice for parents/children. ‘In my day’, you did not choose; it just happened as part of attending a Catholic school. We prepared but not in the same way as today, where now the parents, the school and the parish are all involved. If the parents and children choose to enrol, they then have to make a commitment to work together at home as it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for their children.
All children have been given their name at birth and baptism but for confirmation they take a new name – like Simon did. What names do they take? And why? What name did you take and why?
Most children take the names of those they look up to or admire – their aunties, uncles, nanas, grandads… Some take the names of famous people like footballers or singers because they inspire them to be great.
What example are we giving to children and to others by the way we live and treat others. What kind of teacher am I? Who looks up to you?
Simon was called Cephas meaning Peter (the Rock). Who are you are rock for? Who looks up to you for guidance?
The children are the rocks for the future but what kind of foundation are they building on? If we do not give them Christian values in the home, school or parish communities, they will have nothing to build on. Your example, behaviour and how you treat others will have a huge effect on what & how they ‘see – judge – act’.
I personally feel a great responsibility in my new role in the parish as I’m very privileged to be in a position to share the Good News, in a caring, fun-loving, educational and enjoyable way. I told the children to give me a fist bump any time they see me; it takes a long time to get anywhere now!