Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
At some point during my trip to Florida to visit some of my family and baptize my great-nephew, James, I couldn't help but look ahead to James' future life, wondering what the world will be like when he is my age (which, for those who don't know, is 58 years).  Given the situation of our world today, one can only imagine how challenging things will be for him and others - 58 years from now.  It would indeed, be easy to be negative, and even skeptical about the future - given so much in this world that he and others of his generation will have to deal with that is beyond what any of us can imagine.  I am, however, optimistic for him (and I hope many others) because I know that he will grow up in a loving Catholic home where he will come to know Jesus Christ and grow in faith, hope and love through God's grace and the efforts of his biological and faith family.  I pray that he and many of his contemporaries will keep their focus on Jesus Christ and His love and mercy, and celebrate the reality that the future is always bright when we put our faith and hope in Him.

When Jesus is the rock and foundation of one's life, then a person (of this or any time) can live each day in hope, and strive to bring that hope to the world, no matter what is happening, good and/or bad.  It is for those of James' generation, and ours, who do not live with faith in Jesus Christ and do not follow Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life, that I especially feel for, and pray for, every day.

One our our baptismal responsibilities (and that for James when he grows up) is to bring Jesus and His message of hope to others.  I might challenge you this week to spend time pondering those who helped bring you to faith in Jesus, and consider who you need to go to now in your life to help you grow even closer to Jesus and to living His truth and spreading it in one way or another, every day.  With Lent right around the corner (Ash Wednesday is February 14), a number of opportunities will be offered to all of us.  Let's pray for the grace and strength to say yes to one or more of these, and know that the Lord has more and more blessings ready for those who put greater and greater trust in Him.