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Rite of Election 2017

Published: March 5, 2017

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached the following homily during the Rite of Election for those participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process. The rite was held at Blessed Sacrament Church in Jonesboro on March 2, 2017; St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers on March 4, 2017; Christ the King Church in Little Rock on March 5, 2017; and St. Edward Church in Texarkana on March 6, 2017. It is based on John 1:35-51.


Bishop Taylor

In the Gospel you just heard, five of Jesus' future apostles respond to his call to follow him — quite appropriate for you who, in this Rite of Election, mark one more step in your response to Jesus' call in your life.

Among them are two of John the Baptist's disciples who leave him based on his identification of Jesus as the "Lamb of God." But John the Baptist does not start following Jesus. Doesn't that seem odd? Why doesn't he start following Jesus too, and bring all of his disciples with him?

Well, insight comes when the Lord is ready to give it to us. My guess is that John the Baptist really didn't know all that much, that the Holy Spirit put the words, "Behold the Lamb of God" on John's lips and that these disciples heard more in John's words than John himself did.

In RCIA you have studied the teaching of Jesus and considered how to apply this to your own lives, but more important is that you get to know Jesus himself as a person. You know, we are saved by who we know, not by what we know.

The Spirit often works that way to bring to an individual hearer God's special word for them. Haven't you experienced that?

In RCIA you have studied the teaching of Jesus and considered how to apply this to your own lives, but more important is that you get to know Jesus himself as a person. You know, we are saved by who we know, not by what we know.

These five apostles didn't start out by studying the creed. For them it all started with an attraction to Jesus through whom they had a personal encounter with God's mercy, to which they then responded — at which point Jesus could then begin to form them with his teaching and example, including eventually his sacrificial death.

And so should it also be for each one of us. Jesus invites us into a personal relationship with him, through which we experience God's mercy. But to hear that call, we first must listen, which is the fruit of prayer and may take time.

My greatest hope is that each of you get to know Jesus very well and then having heard his voice, that you then respond to him more and more obediently, generously and courageously. Indeed, that is the call that has brought you here today.