Come on a virtual pilgrimage with Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox to the River Jordan! We have chosen this destination because it is the site where Jesus, the Son of God was baptized by John as we read in the Gospels of Matthew (3:13-17), Mark (1:9-11), and Luke (3:21-22).
During this Journey of Hope, you will discover the following:
- The significance of this River which has the lowest elevation of any river in the world and where it flows.
- Why is this River so important and visited by people from all over the world?
- What insights from this place will help us in our daily lives?
- Plus we will incorporate the virtue of Hope and how this virtue can lead us to live without fear.
Jewel for the Journey
There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice. – St. John Paul II
Listen to this program now:
Dear brothers and sisters,
through the paschal mystery
we have been buried with Christ in baptism,
so that we may walk with him in newness of life.
And so, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism,
by which we once renounced Satan and his works
and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.
And so I ask you:
Do you renounce sin,
so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?
Do you reject the lure of evil,
so that sin my have no mastery over you?
Do you reject Satan,
the author and prince of sin?
Do you believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered death and was buried,
rose again from the dead,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting?
And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
who has given us new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit,
and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins,
keep us by his grace,
in Christ Jesus our Lord,
for eternal life.
(C) Text of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises from the New Roman Missal, 3rd Edition.
There’s something that most of us adults have in common: We’ve got a talent for pointing out what’s wrong with the world.
We write newspaper articles about it. We broadcast our grievances across the globe – on TV, radio, and the Internet. We stand around at parties and bemoan the politics of the day. We gather in groups and gossip about the problems and flaws of others. You can fill in examples from your life, too, right?
Remember when we were kids, and the world was absolutely amazing? Remember when we had grand aspirations to grow up and do big things? If we saw one hungry person, we’d ask, “Why are they hungry? Where’s their mom? Can I help them?” Many of us wanted to grow up and be superheroes!
Then we grew older, and dismissed the delusions of youth. Was it because we realized that the world “just doesn’t work that way”?
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.
This is one of St. Catherine of Siena’s most famous quotes. She truly believed that every single person could change the world for the better. Was she delusional?
You might respond, “Well, maybe she wasn’t crazy, but she was special! She was a saint. I’m not on that level; most people aren’t.”
Catherine believed that an inestimable Fire could change the world. Her words call to mind Jesus’ own words in the Gospel: I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Luke 12:49)
In prayer, Catherine encountered the inestimable Fire—the triune God, who is Love.
Her famous quote means that you and I are meant to be that fire; the living image of God. You see, Christians profess a belief that is unfathomable by other faiths: when we are baptized, God actually comes to live within us.
It Just Isn’t Right!
In the New Testament, we learn that John the Baptist was baptizing people for the forgiveness of their sins.
When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John protested, thinking: I am not even worthy to unfasten your sandal strap! You want ME to baptize YOU?
At John’s response, God—who had humbled himself to become human, to be born in a stable, to be vulnerable and weak—looked him in the eyes and acknowledged that John was right.
Jesus answered him, Allow it now. (cf. Matthew 3:13-15).
Jesus the God-Man, had the divine vision to see beyond a human—or more accurately, a fallen—concept of justice.
In our eyes, none of this makes sense: God is perfectly just, and yet he humbled himself to be baptized by a human being. God is Almighty, and yet, he chose to submit himself to human beings. Yet, God cannot act unjustly; so true justice must somehow be beyond our comprehension.
What if we saw with God’s eyes?
When most of us “grew up” and decided that being a superhero was no longer possible, it was because we had allowed our concept of what is possible to be shaped and limited by a world that suffers from sin. We had each lived through disappointments, wounds, struggles, and those all had consequences. In the face of pain, it’s natural to shift our focus onto what’s wrong with things.
But what if, instead, we turn our focus to God? What if we remain open to the marvels possible through Love?
You and I may look at Jesus and protest, “This is not right.” We may approach him, carrying all our burdens, and say, “I am not worthy, Lord.”
But Jesus will tell us, “Allow it now.”
Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 45)
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. Allow the unfathomable God to live within you. You will be the fullest version of “you” that you were ever meant to be. You will set an inestimable Fire into view for each person who encounters you, and Love will renew the face of the earth.
Will we dare to believe the unfathomable?
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.
Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate for nearly 10 years. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.
In celebrating the Solemnity or Feast of Christ the King this past Sunday, which also happened to be the last Sunday of the liturgical year, I couldn’t help but want to assess my spiritual progress since the Advent of 2018.
As to how I measure my progress, each year in acknowledging the kingship of Jesus Christ, I recommit to the following:
- Dedicating myself to a more active prayer life
- Being more effective in serving my family members, friends, parish, and community
- Bringing hope to others (those I encounter on my journey) as an evangelizer
Whenever I find myself getting complacent, falling into a routine or falling short, I remember this beautiful quote that I discovered a few years back:
The Kingdom Demands Discipleship
Jesus is the center of creation; and so, the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words, and in our works. – Homily of Pope Francis, Solemnity of Christ the King, November 24, 2013
Perhaps the main thing that drives me, which can possibly help you stay active and on course in your faith, is this truth.
A couple of years ago, after making a confession that was filled with what I recall were more failures than normal, my spiritual director asked me, “Do you know who you are?” I think I said something like a child of God or part of the Body of Christ. Whatever I said, it wasn’t the right answer or the answer he was looking for.
That’s when he said, Like Christ the King, you are priest, prophet, and king. If you truly believed and understood this, you would be inspired to always practice your faith with more boldness, passion, and joy.
Your Threefold Calling
- A priest should embody and reflect the presence of God. In order to do so, we should have a devotion to prayer, the sacraments, and the Mass.
- A person is a prophet in the measure that he or she bears the truth of God. G.K. Chesterton said that in an upside-down world such as ours, the prophet is the person who speaks the truth according to Scripture, the lives of the saints, and Church teaching. If we are to be beacons of light to others, we must keep growing in our knowledge of the faith. In our increasingly secularized society, we can look to classic authors like Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, the Venerable Fulton Sheen and others. A prophet can never stop studying and speaking.
- Finally, what does it mean for the ordinary Catholic to live out our sharing in Christ’s kingship? It means to be a leader in guiding your community toward God in service and stewardship.
When you are fully conscious of your personal dignity in God, complacency is not an option.
Robert V. Rodriguez is Public Relations & Outreach Assistant for Pilgrim Center of Hope. He combines a passion for the Catholic faith together with years of professional experience as a TV news journalist, video producer, and PR/marketing specialist. Robert also serves as Chairman for our annual “Master, I Want to See” Catholic Men’s Conference.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.
Stay In Touch!
Stay informed about Pilgrim Center of Hope's upcoming events & receive spiritual tools through our monthly email newsletter.
Connect with Us
Keep Hope Alive
7680 Joe Newton
San Antonio, TX 78251-1409