Last Sunday I attended the christening of the firstborn son of my nephew and his wife – Juan and Lilia. The pregnancy was particularly challenging, so all of us rejoiced in the life of this strapping young child. I spent a good part of the afternoon looking after the godmother’s son…a very active and precocious three-year old.  “Jesus come to baby,” he kept saying…no doubt repeating his parents’ explanation of this family event.  As water was poured and chrism slathered on this new Christian, all of us prayed with and for all the moms and dads represented in our large family group.

Blessed indeed are these young parents. And blessed too their children who will learn all about God’s Word and its meaning from these hope-filled young couples.  To be sure each couple has a “story”; each struggles with the responsibility of raising their kids.  Each worries about the obstacles and challenges their family may face. Yet they all walk forward in faith – a faith so strong and evident that day of baptism.  May God bless and nurture them…and all the young families so dear to each one of us.

Mid-October is harvest time in much of the world…a good opportunity to chart the growth of God’s grace and challenge in each of our lives all throughout 2013. But perhaps I have neglected the Lord this year because God seems so absent. Maybe our family has struggled financially or with a serious illness. On the other hand, maybe someone in the family finally found work!

Another branch of the clan has the good news of a wedding. And many of us rejoice at the fresh expression of  faith that has come through the words and deeds of Pope Francis.  The readings this weekend invite us to gratitude.  Indeed, let us bless and praise our God for all that has been…and all that is yet to unfold in this adventure of life!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team