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Lectors and Acolytes let no discouragement overcome you

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We shared with you the homily that the Provincial Father, Bonifacio Solis, OP, preached on the occasion of the installation of the lectorate and acolyte of our brothers: Abraham, John Bosco, Richard, Gabriel, Justin, Fermin, Mannes, Gabriel, Luis, Benedito y Francisco on May 1.

I have gladly acceded to your request to be installed as Readers and Acolytes upon recommendation of the Master of Students and those responsible for your training on the presumption that you are ready to remain in your vocation until death. God, who knew your before you were created and conceived, has, in his providence, called you in so many different and mysterious ways and led you in your vocation. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you (Jer. 1:5). I understand that you wish to say freely: here I am Lord to do your will. Let your life and ours be always ready to serve Him and his people with generosity and in faithfulness to the vocation received. As Dominicans we are called to preach and to become instruments of God’s mission for his people. 

Two words have been mentioned in today’s liturgy: love and faith. Let your love for his kingdom be the same as the one that the Lord has for you and your faith remain strong as Jesus prayed for his disciples to have. Let Him, through his grace, continue to increase our little faith so that with inner conviction we can serve his people and transmit to them the fire of love that we experience in our communion in the mystical body of the Church.  

Let me paraphrase some thoughts of the Holy Father: We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. A preacher cannot proclaim the word unless he is set on fire by the inner burning love for the Word and truth he is called to proclaim and by the conviction that the Lord works through him. May you allow the Spirit to act and to speak to you and through you.  

Let us be holy by living out our commitment with joy seeking the common good and renouncing personal gain. No one is bound to do more than he has been given the grace to do; however, in our commitment we cannot rest unless we fully live what He conveys to us in his Word and allow ourselves to be evangelizers by what we proclaim. 

You are encouraged to give your whole self and to embrace that unique plan that God willed for each of us from eternity. If we are in love with our vocation and the one who has called us to this service, we will be able to draw on the inner energy to respond with generosity to the extraordinary gift of the call, being aware that it is not we who serve and preach but He who has chosen us for this mission. Let us then allow Him to bring to fulfilment his plan and his wishes as we bear in mind and in heart the conviction of a YES and never of a DOUBT.   

The call to holiness is addressed to all of us in general and in a personal way to each one of us: “Be holy, for I am holy (I Pet 1:16). All the faithful whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord – each in his or her own way- to that perfect holiness by which the Father himself is perfect (LG. 11). Let everything in your life be opened to God in every situation. He can make us better and make miracles in our own personal condition, if we only believe that nothing is impossible for Him. These words need no comment: 1) Holiness and perfection are the commitment we undertook, through our consecration since we have decided and were chosen to embrace the kind of life that Jesus chose and lived. This is a process of life where trust in his power is the source of our strength. 2) Because all the faithful are called to holiness, our vocation and service, must be oriented to help them and guide them in their way of life to love and live in the Lord; 3) When we allow the Lord to be in command everything in us seeks his will and his purpose in our life. However, generosity and availability are required from those who want to be his own totally and completely.  

As you begin to serve Him in your duties as Lectors and Acolyteslet no discouragement overcome you. The important thing is that each believer discerns his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gift that God has placed in their hearts (I Cor. 12:7), rather than trying to imitate something that is not for us. There are many ways of bearing witness and we have embraced that of service to the Word, that presents the truth, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist, source of spiritual nourishment, for this reason you are about to receive both ministries. 

Therefore, since the Lord has chosen each one of you to be holy and blameless before Him, in love, assume the task of proclaiming the Word, instructing the catechumens and that of distributing the blessed sacrament to the sick wherever the need arises, in the name of the one who has chosen you for this service (cf. Eph 1:4). Remember that as ministers you are not completely yourselves unless you belong to the church and to the people you are called to evangelize. Only then can you be certain of being faithful to the call and service you have generously embraced.

In the history of the Christian missions there so many dedicated men and women whose names are known only to God. Nevertheless, we cannot deny the existence of so many committed and faithful consecrated men and women as well as laity who have heroically confessed and given testimony of their love and faith in countless numbers of service. We will only find out about the truth of this statement and its theological foundation, on that day when all that is hidden is revealed.  

Fr. Bonifacio Garcia Solis, OP