Today I will preside at a quinceanera, the celebration of the fifteenth birthday of your women. We don’t have a lot of these celebrations in our parish – and they are often accompanied by Mass, but our pastor has commitments in the diocese and asked me to preside.
I have done it once before and found a beautiful ceremony. But these readings really touch me: Isaiah 43: 1-4; Psalm 139 (138), John 15: 9-17.
Here are my notes – in English for my homily this afternoon.
You are a child of God – a daughter of God. You are made in the image of God.
Today as you celebrate your quinceanera, remember that your worth, your dignity, your value do not depend on what you look like, what you do, what you wear, who your friends are.
Do not fear if you don’t have what others have. Do not fear if you are not as wise, as pretty, as popular as other young women.
You are a precious jewel in the eyes of God. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “you are of great value and I love.”
God made you – and no one is like you. “You are marvellously made,” formed by God from your mother’s womb, “knitted in her womb,” as the psalmist says.
And that is good. God loves us and we should not fear.
But it is not enough.
God calls each of us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself for us. We do not show who we are by what we look like, but by the way we love, the way we live out the dignity we have as children of God, as friends of God.
You, and every one of us here today, are chosen by God.
And so “let us love each other.”