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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monday of the first week of Lent

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.

The requirements to be a godparent, as stated in Canon Law 847, say that candidates must be at least 16 years of age, they must have been baptized in the Catholic Church, and must have completed the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation. If married, they have to have been married in the Catholic Church, regularly attend Sunday services, and they are to be living their faith.

Those last three words are critical: “living their faith.” It is not enough to go to church on Sundays. It is not enough to be married in the the Church. It is not enough to be a certain age or to have received the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation. Unless we are living our faith, unless we are credible witnesses to the love God revealed in Christ, the other requirements are empty words.

Both readings today state this truth in bold type. Leviticus directs us to be holy as the Lord, our God, is holy. We do this by making every effort to love and respect our neighbor by not stealing, lying, defrauding, cursing, or seeking revenge. After all, God has continued to love us even after we have failed in matters of charity and integrity. Should not we be expected to do likewise with our neighbor?

The famous Gospel passage from Matthew 25 states it even more clearly: “for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” When we attend to our neighbor’s needs, we are ministering to God in disguise. Just as God has lifted us up after we have stumbled into sin, so we must put aside all prejudice, preconceptions, and judgment and do to others what God has already done for us, which is loved us unconditionally and set us free.

Should the Church relax the rules on godparents? Not necessarily. It is good to follow the path that our faith and religion have set out for us. It is not only good but expected that we move into deeper union with God through the Christian sacraments. We should make every effort to attend Sunday Mass. We go to received our God in Word and sacrament and to contribute to the Christian community by our presence.  But I would recommend the order be reversed in Canon 847. It should begin with the final three words. If we are not living our faith, following all the rules and regulations is useless.

Lenten Blessings,

Fr. Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.