Father’s Son

Posted: June 18, 2017 in homilies

Solemnity of Corpus Christi Aa

Why are we here? What makes you come to church today?

imagesAny volunteer who wants to share? Cite the examples.

Some of you might answer that you have come here to worship Our Lord and offer Him our praise and adoration. Some likely have come to church to seek comfort and  peace in God’s presence. Probably some of us have come here to experience fellowship and belonging in our community. Or perhaps we have come for the simplest reason – to fulfill our Sunday obligations.

Whatever our reasons are, we are here because Christ wanted us to be here. Come to think about it, Jesus really wants us here. I remember one time during mass seeing a new face in the congregation. I approached him and ask him if he was visiting or not. He said that he was from the neighborhood. He was just passing by and saw that there is mass happening so he came in. He said that he grew up Catholic but he hasn’t practice since graduating in high school. He said that it was nice to attend mass once again. I told him that it was good to meet him and I hope to see him again. He said he would try to come. I haven’t seen him regularly but I did see him once in a while. I’m telling you this because I believe that it is not just coincidence that he passed by that day while we are having mass. God led him here. There is always this constant and ever-present invitation for us from Jesus to be connected with Him. God is actively and persistently knocking in our hearts. That is fundamental. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to feel His love and mercy. He wants us to be part of His one Body, the Church. And He wants us to be nourished and sustained by His Body and Blood. This is the reason why we are celebrating the Solemnity of Corpus Christi today. This longing of Jesus to be part of our lives leads us to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ’s Body and Blood.

This celebration proclaims to us three important professions of faith about God’s presence in our lives. First, that God became physically present to us through the person of Christ. Second, that God continues to be present in His people in the form of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church. And lastly, that He is present to us in the form of the consecrated bread and wine offered at the altar during mass.

Let us reflect on these three professions and see what is their significance in our lives. The first profession brings us to the very foundation of our faith – Jesus, the Emmanuel, the God-is-with-us. He tells us that He is indeed present in us, with us and for us. This is the greatest gift that we ever received as a human being – God through Christ, became human like us. I remember every time I go and visit the places where my Father has previously worked as a school supervisor in our province in the Philippines. They often asked me “Are you the son of Roger?” I was amazed every time this happens. I answer back. “Yes, How could you tell?” “Well, you looked like him. You got his facial features, your mannerisms and even how you stand or move?” “Is that so?” “Do I have to be proud of it?” I asked. “Of course! You’re Dad is the best person we know especially when he is asleep!” Kidding aside, I can say based on their observation that I am my Father’s son. He is present in me just as they can recognize me through their relationship with my Dad before. This is also the same with God, our Father. We recognize Him through our personal experience of Jesus, His son, in our life. He made us in His own image and likeness and given us a dignity befitting as his sons and daughters. This is a great privilege if we reflect more about it. There is no other creature in all universe created in the image and likeness of God except us. There is no other creature in the world that God took on to become like us in all things except sin. There is no other creature on earth that God wanted to have a personal relationship with except us. What a privilege, right?

The second profession pronounces the Church as the mystical body of Christ. It is through the Church that Christ gives us the opportunity to be united with him and with one another in the faith. Indeed, “we relate to Christ through His Risen Body, which is the whole community bearing his name. For this reason, there is no place in our Church for individualism or ‘just me’ attitude. Our faith is never all about me and my personal relationship with my God. Our faith is also a horizontal faith: we go to God with and through those around us.” We all belong to Christ. We are all in this together. This is why St. Paul in our second reading today asked the community to share the meal together because Jesus, himself, shared the bread and wine with his disciples. Through Christ’s sharing we become one with him, so also in our sharing and communion with one another, we become united with Christ.

The third profession pronounces to us that Christ is truly present in the species of the consecrated bread and wine. This is Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist. He is present in the consecrated bread and wine not symbolically but actually. This means that every time we celebrate the Eucharist we don’t need to hope that God will be present. He is really present in the Eucharist. His presence does not depend on our mood, feelings, or even holiness. He offers himself to us as our spiritual food so that we can be nourished and uplifted in our relationship with Him. This profession challenges us that if we are to eat his flesh and drink his blood, we need to incorporate into our lives all that he teaches, all that he visions, all that he values, and all that he preaches about the meaning and purpose of life. By receiving his body and blood, we unite ourselves to Christ’s way of thinking and living. For this reason, when we receive Christ in our lives, we need to actively live up His mission and witness His gospel in whatever we do and say in our lives.

Having known these three professions, it is good to remember that we celebrate them not only during the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ but every time we celebrate the Eucharist as a community. Every time we have mass, we celebrate God’s presence in Christ and make Him present in the consecrated bread and wine and in us, the Church, who receives His Body and Blood. And so, whatever our reasons are in attending mass, whether it is as simple as just fulfilling our Sunday obligation or as deep as having that great relationship with Christ, every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are in for a great privilege; we are in for a great blessing. Christ wants to be present in our lives. He wants to have a personal relationship with us. He wants us to accept Him with all our hearts and minds. And so, let’s us wholeheartedly do them for He has said to us – “Do this in memory of me.” Amen.

Holy Spirit, Come!

Posted: June 7, 2017 in homilies

Pentecost Aa

This Pentecost Sunday, we are going to hear some testimonials from those who just thfinished their RCIA journey here in our parish this year. Their RCIA journey is a concrete testimony for us on how the Holy Spirit is truly at work in our lives.

Personal Sharing….

(Express gratitude and cite comments on what was shared.)

The testimonies we have heard manifest what our second reading today tells us, “No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” And so no one also can accept the faith and say yes to the Lord without the Holy Spirit working in their life. It could be just that little voice that tells you after so many years, “It is time.” Or it could be that person you respect very well who inspired you to say, “I wanted to be like her.” It maybe the community that makes you feel welcomed and loved that you thought, “I wanted to be part of it.” Whatever it is, it is the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Your decision does not just happen by chance. You didn’t just hear the call and you immediately said yes. You didn’t just feel moved and you instantly believed. God works in us and through us in various ways. He makes use of people, things, events and even personal challenges in our lives to draw us closer to Him. He transforms us and changes our lives. He does this through the Holy Spirit, the agent of transformation and change in our lives. He is the one who can make a difference in our lives, create a change and activate us to become the best person that we can be.

We have heard Jesus assuring his disciples before he ascended to heaven, that He would not leave them orphans. He would send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the agent who was going to activate them, give them the power to fulfill their purpose to preach the Good news to all the ends of the earth. Before the Holy Spirit came, the disciples were afraid and fearful but when the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they became confident in proclaiming the mighty deeds of our Lord.

In our own lives we try to look for ways to satisfy our spiritual needs and become the best person we can be. Yes, we try our best, notwithstanding our shortcomings and limitations, to live our lives according to his will. But despite of our great desire and our best efforts, we still falter and fall short. This must not stop us from doing our best though. This must not hinder us to continue on. We must not fear nor be confined by it. We must understand and believe that God sent us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, to give us power, to direct us, to teach us and to fulfill all our spiritual longings and needs. Yes, we cannot do it alone. But the Holy Spirit is always there to help us and make our lives dynamic in every aspect of it.

For this reason, let us remember, “It doesn’t matter what decision we take or what choices we make in our lives, whether it is as important as something or as simple as anything, if without the Holy Spirit, all our efforts and ventures will be incomplete and for nothing. No matter how well planned it is, it would still fail in the end just like any other vast human enterprise.” History is our witness, the Roman Empire flourished for a long time with its human and military might but in the end fell down. The Church whose birthday we are celebrating today, came from a ragtag group of fishermen but with the help of the Holy Spirit, continue to flourish through out the ages, through thick and thin, because where human instrumentality leaves off, “a blessed ally takes off, a blessed ally takes over, it is the Holy Spirit that leads, it is the Holy Spirit that inspires, it is the Holy Spirit that reveals, it is the Holy Spirit that administers, it is the Holy Spirit that transforms.” And so in this solemnity of Pentecost, let us offer our lives to the Holy Spirit, with all our dreams and desires, with all our joys and sorrows, with all our strengths and limitations, let us let Him lead us. So to the Holy Spirit we pray:

“O Holy Spirit of light and love, you are the substantial love of the Father and the Son; hear our prayer. Abundant bestower of most precious gifts, grant us a strong and living faith which makes us accept all revealed truths and shape our conduct in accord with them. Give us a most confident hope in all divine promises which prompts us to abandon ourselves unreservedly to you and your guidance. Infuse into us a love of perfect goodwill, and act according to God’s least desires. Make us love not only our friends but our enemies as well, in imitation of Jesus Christ who through you offered himself on the Cross for all people. Holy Spirit, animate, inspire, and guide us, and help us to be always a true follower of you. Amen.”

 

 

Stacruzan Homily

Posted: May 27, 2017 in homilies

Stacruzan Homily

Who among you here sings or hums when you are happy or overjoyed? Probably for our jackjarilla1younger people here, you sing Justin Bieber’s song, Baby – “Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh!” Right? How about our golden generation here? I bet you sing the all time favorite song, My Way – “And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain,” right? How about those who have grown up in the 90’s here like myself? I am sure you sing Vanilla Ice – “Ice, Ice, Baby. Ice, Ice Baby!”

Kidding aside, we have a tendency to sing or hum a song when we are happy or overjoyed. This is certainly the case of Mary in our gospel today. She was overjoyed by the blessing that she and Elizabeth has received from God. So out of her joy, she sang a beautiful song to the Lord, which has become one of the greatest songs in our church – the “Magnificat.” She sings that out of her lowliness, God has looked with favor on her. God has become one with His people. Jesus, the Emmanuel – the God with us – has finally noticed the plight of His faithful. Indeed, the joy of Mary is overflowing because God has observed and noticed the lowly, and He did great things for them. It must have been incomprehensible to Mary that God would have noticed and chosen a humble common girl like her. But God’s ways is not our ways and so she exalts God who has favored not only her but also the poor and the lowly.

So the message of the gospel is this: no one is unimportant and useless in our world today; no one is so low and small that Jesus would not come into the world for Him. God’s design is inversely proportional to the standards of our time. The small is beautiful, those in the low places are high, the last are the first, and the hungry will be filled. The Magnificat is like Mary’s version of the Beatitudes.  It is a proclamation of the good news to those who are disadvantaged in the world, but a warning to those who think of themselves as higher than heaven.

So today, Mary revealed the secret of attaining happiness in our lives. Happiness comes to those who seek the presence of God, those who trust God enough to humbly surrender themselves to His will, opening their heart and mind to the grace of God at work in their lives even if their life is challenging, even if things are not that ideal for them. Certainly, the hungry, the lowly and small represent the people who longs for God’s help in their life. We are these people because all of us in one way or another are hungering for something in our life. All of us in one way or another feel down and low in our life. Sometimes it might not be perfect; sometimes God might not seem present in our life; but God is there, working, healing, giving, forgiving, loving, transforming. He is continuously at work in our lives even if we don’t’ see or feel Him.

I remember someone who by all bounds and measures, we can say in the world’s standards, is a very successful and happy man. He has everything – money, cars, beautiful wife, great kids and fame. He is well respected in the community. He is always smiling and vivacious in public. But when he is by himself, it’s the other way around. Deep down, he was the unhappiest man in the world. He doesn’t find any joy in his life and the things and accomplishment he has. He tries to mask his unhappiness with his smile and success. But it’s all a façade, a show because his seeming joy and happiness has no foundation. It doesn’t stand on solid ground.

This is what Mary in her Magnificat is trying to remind us – God is the foundation of our joy. In Him, we don’t need to wear a mask or a façade. Even if we are down, even if when things in our life are hard, when we know that God is present in our lives, we have a reason to smile. We have a reason to celebrate because God is indeed with us.

Our celebration today of the Santacruzan, part of the Filipino traditional May devotion to our Blessed Mother, is a reminder of our Lord’s continued desire to be present among us. As we know, the Santacruzan, is a pageant held in honor of Helena of Constantinople, the mother of the Emperor Constantine the Great. Helena was appointed by her son Constantine to look for holy relics, and so she traveled to Palestine in the years 326-28 AD.

According to tradition, when Helena arrived at the site of Jesus’ tomb near Calvary, she found a temple built by the previous Roman emperor, Emperor Hadrian. She ordered the demolition of the pagan temple, and began an excavation project in the site. There they found three different crosses, one of which could be the True Cross, but nobody knew which cross was actually the one where our Lord was crucified. To find out, Helena had a dying woman brought near the crosses. When she touched the first and second crosses, nothing happened, but when she touched the last one, she suddenly recovered from her illness. This miracle convinced Helena that it was the True Cross of our Lord. So our celebration today is more than the Sagalas. It is more than the pageantry. It is all about the cross. The festivity we have today is because of the cross, the true foundation of our joy and celebration. I hope that our celebration today serves as a reminder that our true joy doesn’t come from superficial things but on the love of God who has given His life to save us. So today, let us celebrate, let us processed with great joy, let us continue to sing and give praise to God just like Mary because we believe that there is no challenge, no hardship, no problem can ever stop God from loving us. Yes, there is nothing in this world that could ever stop God from loving us. Amen.

 

Advocate

Posted: May 21, 2017 in homilies

6th Sunday of Easter A

Who among you here has a child who is graduating in High School and is going to college n-GOING-TO-COLLEGE-628x314next school year? How about our parents here who had the experience to send their children especially your first one to college? How did it feel? Did you feel excited that they are leaving home? Or did you feel sad and a little kind of emotional seeing them leaving for college? I bet that any parent here would feel a certain kind of mixed emotions in this kind of situation. Yes, the feeling of pride that your son or daughter is a grown up already, ready to discover the world on their own. But for certain you also have the feeling of sadness seeing your son or daughter moves away for college. After taking care of them for the most part of their life, they would now be living away from home. It did feel different not having them around, right?

This is somehow the same kind of situation in our gospel today. After being with his disciples for the most part of his ministry, Jesus was about to leave them and move back to His Father. The disciples would now be on their own. So just like the parents sending their kids to college, there must be a certain kind of sadness and “what now” feeling in the air. But Jesus promised them that He would not leave them orphans. His Advocate will be with them. He will always remain with them. This sounds like “Mom, Dad, I’m going to be alright.” “We’ll come and visit you.” “I’ll be in touch always.” Certainly, these assurances soften the impact of the move just like Jesus’ assurance changed the atmosphere of his leaving. His assurance made his leaving not so sad but hopeful. It shows that there is something positive coming to them. Jesus believed in his disciples and he knows that with an Advocate to guide them in their life and ministry, they would make a difference in the world. They would become who Jesus called them to be – fishers of men, of people – his face, his hands and feet here on earth.

Now, I have asked a few parents about their experience of sending their kids to college and what were their imparting words to them. One said, “I told them to always take care of himself. Study Hard. Enjoy college and always don’t forget to pray.” Another was a little forceful, “Behave! Stay away from trouble! Make right decisions!” Whatever they are, as the parents, you give these gentle reminders to express your love and care for them. It’s your way of saying “I love you. I want the best for you.” So also our Lord in our gospel today: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” Jesus reminds us: if we love Him, we have to keep his commandments. The test of our love for Jesus is our obedience to Him. It was by his obedience that Jesus showed his love for God and so also by our obedience to Jesus that we must show our love for Him.

We have varying expressions of love in our lives. We have the love between parents and children, between husbands and wives, between friends and relatives. Most often, our love in these situations is manifested in obedience, that is, our obedience to our commitment to take care of our loved ones, our obedience to our vows to be true to our promises. Jesus showed his love to the Father by His obedience to His will. We too are asked to show our love to Him by keeping His commandment through our obedience to his commandment to love one another, to remain faithful to Him by remaining committed to our vows and spiritual promises and lastly to manifest our unwavering dedication and trust in God despite all the challenges and hardships that come our way.

Yes, it is difficult and hard to fulfill God’s commandment in our lives but we are assured that God will always be there to help us in our journey of faith. He has promised us the Advocate to strengthen us in our lives. An Advocate means an intercessor, a defender, a witness, a best friend, or a comforter in distress. In short, it refers to a person who comes to stand by us, the one who protect and give us support in our lives. We have the Holy Spirit who will always be there to help us in our needs. But we always have each other as well. As a people of faith, as a community, as a family, we can stand for each other; we, too, can protect and support each other. We can be Advocates of God. God sends His Advocate to us in many ways and in various situations and peoples. It comes to us in times of challenges, changes and even blessings in our lives. It comes to us in the person of our friends, leaders, loved ones and even strangers. Indeed, He makes use of each and everyone of us – our situations and the people around us to communicate his love and mercy to the world. And so today, let us respond to God’s call to become His Advocate in the world by our obedience to His will through our love and support for each other. Amen.

Home is Where your Heart is…

Posted: May 14, 2017 in homilies

5th Sunday of Easter A

Shelter is one of our basic human needs: it is a place where we can be protected from the imageselements and keep us warm and safe. But more than just protecting us from the elements or keeping us warm and safe, we all want to be in a place where we feel loved and cared for, a place where our hopes and dreams are nurtured and nourished. And this place is what we call home.

To have a home therefore is more than just having a comfortable house.  It is to have intimate ties with people who accept us for who we are.  They give us a feeling of belonging and worth. This is what it means to say, “Home is where your heart is.” Our home will always be the place for which we feel the deepest affection and respect in our life, no matter where we are, whoever we are and whatever we do.

And Jesus knew this very well. That is why He tried to reassure His disciples with these words from our gospel today—“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  In my Father’s house there are many rooms.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you”? In this world of uncertainties, Jesus assures us that there is always a place for us where we can feel loved. There is always a place for us where we can be forgiven. There is always a place for us where we can be at peace. Yes, there is always a place for us where we can be truly happy. This place is with God.

Yes! Our place, our home is with God.  For us, home is not so much a physical place as it is a “relationship” of love, trust and acceptance.  We can go anywhere and never feel homeless, as long as our loved ones are there.  It’s also the same between God and us.  As long as we have a close relationship with Him, we are truly at home with our God.

It is for this reason that Jesus in the Gospel reminded his followers of this reality. He was about to suffer and leave them. They would feel alone and left out. They would be scattered. But He assured them that His love for them would remain. He would offer his life for them. So long as they remain close to him and to one another, they would get through. Jesus would always be there for them even when He is gone physically – to love and care for them through the love and care they have for each other.

This is why he gave them the commandment, “love one another as I have loved you.” This challenge to love one another would mark them as Jesus’ disciples, a people who belong to His Home, a chosen race, a holy nation, a people of His own. He set for them a new standard for Love wherein He serves as a model and example – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Through Him, with Him and In Him, we come to know God and get connected with Him and with one another.

Today we celebrate Mother’s day and it is very fitting because our mothers exemplify and live this example of Jesus’ love for us. Every mother here will admit that their vocation is not all candy and kisses, hugs and bouquets, pampering and treats which I hope your husbands and children will give you on this special day of yours. Your vocation of Motherhood also brings with it a share of sorrow and disappointment and lots of sacrifices. You probably heard of the term “Soccer Moms.” This entails mothers driving their children to all kinds of activities, such as soccer, dance, music and also doing a myriad of other things for her family. We would be amazed on how much they could get done for all the things they do. Instead of calling them soccer moms, let us call them our “Super Moms!” Thank you.

Our mothers teach us many things. We are who are because of their love, guidance, challenge and sacrifices for all of us. Our mothers taught us RELIGION – “You better pray that you find it or else.” Our mothers taught us LOGIC – “Because I said so, that’s why.” Our mothers taught us about STAMINA – “You’ll sit there until all that vegetables are gone.” Our mothers taught us about BEHAVIOUR – “Stop acting like your father!” Lastly, our mothers taught us about JUSTICE – “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!” For all you are to us, we love you!

I remember a story between a mother and her young daughter. They had just gotten back from church and the little girl went immediately to her desk and began to draw. After watching her for a while the mother asked her, “What are you drawing and the reply came back, “a picture of God.” “But, said the mother, “no one has seen God and no one knows what God really looks like.” Not the least disturbed and still at work, the girl answered. “You will know Mom when I’m finished!”

Yes, we are told, “No one has ever seen God-yet if we love one another just as God has loved us, then God’s love is brought to perfection in us.”

All we say and all we do in our life, they are a living, breathing illustration of who God is. We make HIM present in us. We make Him reside in our hearts. And like the young girl, when our life’s portrait of God is finally finished and we have painted the last stroke, we hope that people will know what God looks like and how it is to be truly at Home with Him in Heaven.

As we celebrate our mothers today who showed us how to love and how it is to be loved, let us extend to them our prayers and blessings. Adapting the words of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we pray: “Mothers are patient… Mothers are kind… Mothers do not rejoice in what is wrong… but rejoices in the truth. There is no limit to a Mother’s forbearance… to her trust…to her hope…to her power to endure… a mother’s love never fails.” In honor of all our mothers, we all say together, Amen!

 

 

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Image  —  Posted: May 5, 2017 in projects

Divine Mercy

Posted: May 5, 2017 in homilies

2nd Sunday of Easter A (Divine Mercy Sunday)

What did we do to deserve Christ’s resurrection from the dead?

St Peter tells us in the 2nd Reading that in the Resurrection we find “a new birth to a Unknown-1living hope” and experience an “indescribable and glorious joy” in our lives. And that is true. Because of Christ’s resurrection, we can now look forward to living with him forever. We can now look forward to an “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven” for us.

So we ask, “What did we do to deserve such an indescribable gift?” Absolutely nothing. Just like the Apostles, we were hiding behind the closed doors of our fears, trying to keep our sins and weaknesses out of sight.

But Jesus loved us so much that he has come into our lives anyway, breathed the Holy Spirit upon us, and adopted us as his brothers and sisters, sharing his own life with us. That is God’s “Divine Mercy”: we deserved nothing, and yet, he has given us everything.

And this divine mercy is manifested in our gospel today. First, we see it in the reaction Christ shows to his Apostles who had abandoned him just two nights before. They had abandoned Jesus in his most difficult hour, but Jesus wasn’t going to abandon them. He passes through the locked doors, passes through their fears, regret, and guilt, and appears to them. He hasn’t given up on them. He brings them his peace. And he reaffirms his confidence in them by reaffirming their mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

We can also see God’s mercy in Christ’s reaction to the men who had crucified him. Does he crush them in revenge and condemnation? No. Instead, he sends out his Apostles to tell them – and to tell the whole world, the world that had crucified its God – that they can be redeemed, that God has not condemned them: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And then, Jesus gives us the ultimate revelation of God’s mercy: he delegates to his Apostles his divine power to forgive sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” This is the explicit institution of the sacrament of Reconciliation, the sacrament in which the limitless ocean of God’s mercy overwhelms the fragile ocean of our misery.

We can see here how God has treated all of us, with great kindness, with great understanding; yes, with great compassion – no ifs and buts, with no strings attached, just pure love. Not because we deserved it, but because his goodness is so powerful and so overflowing that he wanted to give us the greatest gift he could ever think of: His DIVINE MERCY.

Christ came all the way from heaven to communicate his mercy to all of us. And so today, He wants us to be part of His divine mercy in a more intimate way. We can see this in the case of Thomas in the gospel today. Of all the Apostles, perhaps Doubting Thomas experienced this mercy in the most personal way. Thomas was mad that Jesus had failed. He was brooding over it, nursing his anger and sorrow in solitude. He wouldn’t believe the resurrection of Jesus “Unless I see the mark of the nails….” So Jesus called on him personally: Touch my wounds, Thomas; believe in me! We can see here that Thomas resistance did not offend Jesus, he instead was just eager to get Thomas’ faith back. And Thomas sees this, and he sees that Christ humbly lowers himself to Thomas’ level, letting him touch him, letting him feel Christ’s real, physical presence – his love and mercy… And for that, Thomas falls on his knees and proclaimed, “My Lord and my God. We are all Doubting Thomases. We all resist God’s action in our lives in one way or another, get mad at him, don’t trust him, rebel against him. And it is precisely in those moments and those corners of our lives where Jesus wants to show off his boundless mercy, come down to our level, and win back our faith.

If Jesus our Lord has treated us with such overwhelming goodness, giving us much more than we deserve, we should strive to do the same for those around us. Let us become ambassadors of God’s mercy in our lives by following Jesus’ example today. We can forgive people who offend, insult, or abandon us, even when we think they don’t deserve to be forgiven just as Christ did to the apostles today. We can give others a gift, an opportunity, or an act of kindness, even when we think they have done nothing to deserve one just as Christ did to Thomas today. Lastly, we can patiently bear with the frustrating weaknesses of those around us – just as Christ does with each one of us every single moment of every single day in our lives.

The more we become like Christ in his mercy, through the power of his grace, the more we will experience the “indescribable and glorious joy” that he died to win for all of us. Amen.