DRAPER – More than 100 people who are preparing to enter the Catholic Church at Easter joined Bishop Oscar A. Solis in person and by livestream for the Diocesan RCIA Lenten Retreat on March 27 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. The retreat theme was “The Light of Christ.”
Bishop Solis led those who attended in the Liturgy of the Word, including a Penitential Rite, Gospel readings, prayers and song. Deacon Jeremy Castellano assisted.
In his homily, Bishop Solis compared the encounter of the blind man with Jesus in the Gospel reading (Mark 8:22-26) to the Elect’s journey to baptism. Like an iceberg, “We see some deeper meaning and significance about the event that transpired beneath the encounter of Christ and the blind man,” he said.
Just as the blind man progressed from not knowing who Jesus was to being healed by him and then coming to understand and embrace his divinity, the Elect are traveling a similar path, the bishop said.
“Before the encounter with Christ, he just recognized Jesus as a man,” he said. “When he was cured and regained his sight, everything opened up. The world was expanded, and he saw beyond his eyes and he used the eyes of faith to recognize that Jesus is the son of God. … The story of the blind man exemplifies our own faith experience in our life. I hope that we can recognize this wonderful story in your own spiritual journey to receive the Sacrament of Initiation.”
The bishop drew a parallel between the experiences of the blind man and the symbols the Elect encounter on their path to becoming members of the Church: the waters of baptism, anointing with holy oil, and receiving a white garment and a lighted candle.
“This is the kind of faith journey that you are going to undertake as you become members of our Catholic Church,” he said. “It is a beautiful ceremony that recognizes the wonderful gift that God offers us, and all we have to do is just open our hearts, open our ears, in order to recognize what a great God we have in Jesus.”
After the Liturgy of the Word, Bishop Solis explained the four characteristics of the Church as expressed in the Nicene Creed: “One, holy, Catholic and apostolic.”
“The Church is the sacred depository of God’s blessings of our faith,” he said. “There is no such thing as discrimination or distinction in the Catholic Church. We are all God’s children; we are all members of Christ’s Church.”
He also spoke about the responsibilities of members of the Church: to know their faith, to live their faith and to share their faith. The bishop counseled the Elect to know their faith by studying the Bible and the catechism and other resources. They should live their faith by going to church and by following the teachings of the Savior, he said.
“Being Catholics, that is the essence of our being,” he said. “There should be no dichotomy or separation between when we are in church and when we are outside the church. We always carry that identity as disciples of Christ, wherever we are.”
As Catholics, members of the Church have joy in their lives that should be shared with others, Bishop Solis said.
“It is very important to know, to live and to share our faith because our Church is missionary in character,” he added. “As Christ was sent by God the Father to the world to be our Savior, Jesus sends us to be his disciples, to share the goodness of God’s love and salvation to the world.”