My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
This is a great joy for me to celebrate these sacred mysteries with you today!
I am especially happy to receive you, my dear catechumens! Today is a great day for each one of you personally. But it is also a great day for our whole Catholic Church. There is great rejoicing in heaven today for each of you who are coming to Jesus Christ and preparing for initiation into his Church!
Un día de gran alegría para cada uno de ustedes, sus Familias, Parroquias, la Arquidiócesis de Los Ángeles y la Iglesia Universal. El cielo se alegra porque cada uno de ustedes esta respondiendo a la llamada de Jesús de seguirlo y se están preparando para su recepción en la Iglesia Católica.
There are no coincidences in God’s creation. Nothing in our lives is just a random happening. Each one of us is here in this beautiful Cathedral today for because we are seeking God. Each one of us is here because God is seeking us.
Our lives are a journey. We are all on a pilgrimage to our Father’s house. Sometimes the path is not so straight. In fact for most of us, the path of our lives is not a straight line to God.
Nuestra vida es una peregrinación hacia la Vida Eterna, la Casa del Padre Eterno y para tener éxito y llegar necesitamos ir continuamente rectificando el camino con una conversión permanente. Cada día debemos de crecer un poquito en el amor de Dios y para eso necesitamos la humildad de reconocer nuestras faltas y corresponder con generosidad a la gracia de Dios!
Lent is all about this faith journey, this pilgrimage to God that we are making in our lives. Lent is about God’s call to conversion and baptism. It is about God’s plan for the world — and his plan for each one of our lives.
That is why in our Scripture readings during these Sundays in Lent, we remember and relive and become a part of the important moments in the history of salvation.
My brothers and sisters, St. Peter tells us something today that is beautiful and amazing. He tells us that the history of the world was all leading up to our baptism! He tells us that the great flood in ancient times, in the time of Noah, prefigured our baptism.
St. Peter tells us that all of this history was meant to be a divine sign of our salvation by baptism.
As the waters of the flood destroyed the sin in the world, in the same way the waters of baptism wash away the sin from our lives. And as Noah and his family were saved in the ark, in the same way each one of us can find shelter in the “ark” of his Catholic Church, which navigates us safely through this world.2
Las lecturas de hoy nos recuerdan que la historia de la salvación es la historia del amor de Dios por cada uno de nosotros. San Pedro nos dice que Jesús sufrió y murió para llevarnos al Amor del Padre y que el Arca de Noé, de la que se nos habla en la primera lectura del libro del Génesis, es una figura de que la salvación nos viene por el Bautismo.
Dios que nos ama tanto que se preocupa de darnos todos los medios para ser felices aquí en la tierra y después en el Cielo para siempre. Dios que nos ama tanto que quiere que tu y yo participemos íntimamente en la historia de la Salvación!
My dear catechumens, you are starting a new time in your lives. But you need to see things more deeply. What is really happening is that you are getting ready to enter into the new life prepared for you from before the foundation of the world! New life in Christ as a child of God in the family of God, his Catholic Church!
But your initiation into his Church is not the final destination of your journey. It is only the beginning! That is the lesson of the Gospel we have just heard this morning.
We begin every Lent by reliving Jesus’ own journey into the desert. And it is important for us to understand why.
We have to remember that the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert immediately after his own baptism. He did this because, after our baptism, each of us is also sent into the wilderness of this world. And every day, we are face trials and temptations. Just as Jesus did.
Jesus is showing us today that with his help, we can overcome temptations in our lives. With his grace, we can resist sin and strive for holiness. We are weak because we are human. But we can do all things with the strength that God gives us.
Always remember, my brothers and sisters, that everything we face in our lives — Jesus has faced before us. And he is always walking with us on our journey.
He is going ahead of us — to show us the way of life, to show us the straight path to our Father’s house.
So we need to follow Jesus closely. We need to listen to his Word and we need to imitate his example in our thoughts and actions. We need to draw strength from his divine life through the sacraments of his Catholic Church.
So my brothers and sisters, my dear catechumens, you are starting out on a great adventure! We are all praying for you during these 40 days!
Let us all pray for one another today — for the grace to make this Lent a beautiful time of penance, purification and conversion as we make our pilgrim way towards Easter and the resurrection.
Queridos Catecúmenos, estos 40 días de la Cuaresma los tendremos especialmente en nuestras oraciones para que este tiempo de gracia especial para cada uno de ustedes, este lleno de las bendiciones de Dios y la alegría de estar cerca de Dios, de ser parte de su familia, los llene de paz y confianza para siempre.
And let us the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels, patroness of our great Archdiocese. May she obtain for us the courage to make a new conversion, so that we can continue on this great adventure, this great journey of our lives that we are making with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Readings: Gen. 9:8-15; Ps. 25:4-9; 1 Pet. 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15.
2. Catechism, 845, 1094, 1219.