.- Bishop Mario Iceta of Bilbao, Spain, said that like Mary, we should allow our lives to be used to offer hope to those in all forms of poverty, as well as to young people.
During his homily at the Basilica of Begona on the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Bishop Iceta drew attention especially to the elderly and the sick who were not able to attend the Mass.
In particular, he mentioned the mayor of Bilbao, Inaki Azkuna, who traditionally attends the festivities on August 15 but was recovering from an illness.
“He would very much like to have been here with us,” Bishop Iceta said, adding that he wishes the mayor a “speedy recovery” so that he can return to “the important task of serving the common good.”
Bishop Iceta also offered prayers for those “suffering or those who cannot find work” and underscored the importance of the faithful practicing “a dynamic, active and creative charity to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters.”
The Lord “sends us to be light in the darkness of the world, to return hope to those who have lost it, to those experiencing the trials of life, to those experiencing the new and old forms of poverty,” he said.
The August 15 celebrations “are an expression of the profound faith of our people” within the context of the Year of Faith, and a call to “accept God, who is love and has a plan of love and salvation for each one of us,” the bishop added.
The Year of Faith, he continued, is an invitation “to renew our faith through meditation on the Word of God, prayer, participation in the Eucharist, communion in the Church, service to the poor and the needy.”
“The Lord invites us to live in a new way, like Mary, putting our confidence in the transforming power of faith and love, which are able to bring contemporary man out of his interior desert and engage him in the construction of a just and fraternal world, where nobody feels excluded, a society that is welcoming and hope-filled, free and at peace.”
Bishop Iceta explained that encountering Christ stirs up in our hearts the need for a true conversion that brings a new perspective to our entire lives.
“We need to return to God, to reach the hearts of so many young people who…in the secret of their hearts, without realizing it, desire Him and need Him more than anything else in order to lead an abundant and fulfilling life,” he said.