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Celebration of the Coming-of-Age Day
January 13, 2003 At St. Mary's Cathedral
First of all, let me extend my sincere congratulations
to those who celebrate their Coming-of-Age
Coming-of-Age Day always reminds me of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Confirmation is the Sacrament that bestows the grace of becoming an apostle of Christ to the recipient.
The word 'Apostle' means those who are sent. Who is it that sends them? Christ the Lord.
What is the purpose of sending them? To fulfill the mission of Christ; evangelization, the mission of spreading the Good News.
In order to carry out this mission, the Heavenly Father and Christ the Lord have sent the Holy Spirit. Confirmation confers the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we can live up to the vocation of becoming apostles.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the following seven printed on the back of the card I will give you today: Wisdom and Insight, Discernment and Courage, the Grace to communicate with God and the Mind to love and worship God.
I would like you who have already received the Sacrament of Confirmation to remember the grace of the Holy Spirit and to renew your resolution to work as apostles. I hope those who haven't received Confirmation yet will receive it as soon as possible.
Dear young men and women, you are our hope. You are going to bear the responsibility for our society and for the Church tomorrow. Adults have the responsibility to support the community he or she belongs to. The identity of adulthood lies in this responsibility. We are leading our lives in the condition of 'here and now.'
We need to assume responsibility here and now. Today leads to tomorrow. Tomorrow eventually reaches the completion of the last day. This always reminds me of the prayer in the Communion Rite of the Mass: 'We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.'
The present is the fruit of the past. Events in the past have brought what we have now. The past holds both good and evil things. To take on responsibilities means to bear the results of the good and evil of the past. We have to take responsibility for the results of past evils while enjoying those of the good.
When you become an adult, you are called to pay attention and take interest in the past of our world, of the Church, of the family and of the groups you belong to.
We all know that the world we live in has been created by the Lord God. So the world is basically good as it is from God.
The evil of the world and of men as we see it now has been brought about by the disorder of the relationship between God and men, and that of God and the world. Thus Christ has come to renew and redeem man and the world he lives in.
The redemptive work of Christ is symbolized by light. He came to the human world as the Light. It is by the light we receive from Christ that we can light up the world. The responsible adult is the witness of the light of Christ.
To lighten a dark corner is an expression taken from Buddhism, which sounds familiar and inspiring to us.
Please shine the light of Christ wherever you are, regardless of how small you may feel your light is. But first, of course, you must receive light from Christ.
I think you have already become the light.
I would like you to meditate on this reality.
Peter OKADA Takeo Archbishop of Tokyo