(Continuing the Mission of Jesus)
430. 'Jesus' means in Hebrew: "God saves". At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave Him the name Jesus as His proper name, which expresses both His identity and His mission. (Luke 1:31) Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus His eternal Son made man, "will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
432. The name "Jesus" signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of His Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the Divine Name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke His name, for Jesus united Himself to all men through His Incarnation, (John 3:18; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:6-13) so that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved." (Acts 4:12)
433.....When St Paul speaks of Jesus whom "God put forward as as expiation by His blood," He means that in Christ's humanity, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself."
(2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 3:25)
257. .....God is love; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of His Blessed Life. Such is the "plan of His loving kindness" conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in His beloved Son: "He destined us in love to be His sons" and "to be conformed to the image of His Son," through "the Spirit of sonship." This plan is a "grace (which) was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began," stemming immediately from Trinitarian love. It unfolds in a) the work of Creation, b) the whole history of salvation after the fall, and in c) the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church.
849. The missionary mandate: "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder, and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men."
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world."
850. The origin and purpose of mission: The Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity. "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has asher origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit." The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of Love."
(This is the 'work' purpose of the Church.)
851. Missionary motivation: .....God "desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth." (I Timothy 2:4) Salvation is found in the truth. Those who follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit of Truth are already on the way of salvation. But, the Church, to whom this (Spirit of) Truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the Truth. (It is) because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.
852. Missionary paths: The Holy Spirit.....is He who (fills and) leads the Church on her missionary paths. "This mission continues and,in the course of history, unfolds the mission of Christ.....so the Church.....must walk the road of Christ Himself.....of poverty, obedience, service and self-sacrifice even to death.....a death from which He emerged victorious by His Resurrection." So it is that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Christians."
And we know that if we die with Him, we shall rise with Him and see His glory.
(John 17:24; Colossians 3:1-4)
...from the Resurrection comes the transformation of Christian lives...
It is for this reason that we receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit, that the power of truth and love may form our interior life and make it radiate outwardly as well.
This formation of our persons is our prime task, the prime mission of each of us. To the Gift, therefore, which comes from on high and calls us upward; there ought to be a response, that of our will; that is, a response of our personal cooperation.
Other taks follow from that. Only after we have had such 'transformation' through the power of Truth Itself, and of love, should transformation of the world be attempted. This is a process beginning from the personal dimension and going toward the community dimension.
Transforming the world means, for the Christian, being open to the Father, and being formed in the Spirit; it means committing oneself responsibly to elevating and enriching, through one's own giving, the communities with which one comes into contact; the family above all, then the world of our friends, the world of school, the world of work, the world of culture, social life, thereby serving to transform the life of the nation.
This is a hard task, certainly; it is a difficult task, but it is not beyond the energies of the young. In fact, the characteristics and qualities, of "the particular cultural, political and economic fabric within every nation," call for Christian values: loyalty to proverbial honesty, fidelity to pledges undertaken and the word given, the sacredness of the family, diligence in work and generosity to the poor. These all objectively make up a precious heritage... These are to be the nurtured characteristics of the parents to be passed to their children spontaneously, as by hereditary transmission.
This should be the fruit of our response to our pledge to live according to the dimension of the Spirit (given in Baptism and Confirmation), that we should freely contribute from the wealth of the Gifts we have received from the Holy Spirit, for the transformation of the world.
As confirmed members of the Church we are called to continue the mission of Jesus in our homes, at work, and with the people we meet daily.
To do this, we need to develop the Gifts of the Holy Spirit so their fruits continue to grow in us as we learn to respond ever more fully to God's call.
Living a truly Christian life naturally involves being involved in some way with Christ's mission in the world. As the Scripture says, "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:17) And so, if our faith is alive, we naturally find ourselves trying to practise, as best we can, the ways of Jesus in our thoughts, in our words and in our deeds.
The Gifts of Confirmation strengthen us and help us to rise above the pressures that daily life can force upon us. These pressures, temptations, and challenges are always there trying to lead us away from living as God's children. They would have us deal with our problems without seeking guidance and help from God's Holy Spirit. So, we must be firm in our resolve to be always, "Joined to God in His Holy Spirit, that we might be always one with Him." (1 Corinthians 6:12)
As confirmed members of 'His Body' the Church, we are inspired to develop the special Gifts He has given to each of us personally, so that the Fruits they bear may fruitfully serve the Mission of Jesus in the world, "that all may come to the knowledge of the Truth and be saved." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
At Pentecost, after the Apostles and disciples had received the Holy Spirit, Peter was addressing the people, "Men of Israel,.....Jesus the Nazarene.....a man approved of God in your sight, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you.....you later, killed Him, but God raised Him to life again.....and all of us are witnesses to that. He has received from the Father the Holy Spirit and what you now see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit. God has made this Jesus you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Hearing this, the men of Israel were cut to the heart, and they said to Peter and the Apostles, "What must we do to be saved?" Peter said, "You must repent, and every one of you must be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to Himself." .....They accepted what Peter said and were baptised. That very day about 3000 were added to their number. They remained faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation we receive the special strength of the Holy Spirit which enables us to to deepen our relationship with God.
As our lives are guided and strengthened by God, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit grow within us and bear their fruit.
May the Holy Spirit enlighten my heart and my soul,
Strengthen me in holiness, and fill me with His gifts