Healing Our Woundedness

Posted on March 29, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2nd Sunday of Easter

A hand reaching out to help another.

Wounds! Wounds! Wounds! It seems that everywhere we look in our world today there are wounds! Last week’s horrendous happenings in Brussels brought back fresh memories of the tragedy in Paris not so long ago. That triggers the horrors of Boston and the more than three thousand lives that were lost September 11, 2001. These catastrophes—the most recent in America—our great wounds!

Simultaneously with the tragic events in Brussels, the media was covering the conviction of the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, by a United Nations tribunal at The Hague. The atrocities he directed boggle the mind. Again, there are echoes. This time it’s the incomprehensible horror of the WWII Holocaust. At the same time, rumbling in the background of all this, is the multitude of Syrian refugees seeking asylum! Ethnic cleansing has not gone the way of past barbarian civilizations. It is still with us. Our world of 2016 rends the heavens with cries and groans from so many wounds.

Just last week we remembered the atrocity of Calvary. The heavens themselves were torn asunder at the wounds inflicted on the very Savior of our race. Did those wounds cry out for vengeance? Not really! Jesus brought a new way. Even as he was dying, he made a declaration of forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Mercy flowed like a balm from the wounds of Jesus. Forgiveness was the wellspring of that mercy. Jesus’ wounds bled mercy!

Though today’s Gospel seems like two separate incidents, they are actually related. Jesus enters each event through locked doors. The disciples were terrified of the Jews. When we are afraid and when we are wounded, doors are locked… doors to our hearts and minds. We especially lock the doors leading to our woundedness. They are not available for viewing or touching. Jesus comes to us, bringing peace. In the case of the disciples, his peaceful message had to be repeated. When we are afraid or wounded, we too need extra assurance. We need to hear Jesus’ words… and hear them again and again.

Jesus’ next action is so important. He shows them his wounds. His wounds did not disappear when he rose from the dead. Jesus carries his wounds into his new life. Jesus knows and understands the pain of wounds. There must be something we need to learn about carrying wounds into resurrected life. Until very recently in our American history, we kept our wounds behind locked doors. The maimed, the handicapped, the mentally challenged, and even pregnant women stayed in the privacy of their homes. Thank goodness that has changed. But even now, inner woundedness is still very private. The traditional British “stiff-upper lip” is still practiced in times of grief, depression, and trouble. We don’t “air” our troubles. We are expected to get through and over the grief of divorce and death, loss and failure quickly.

Jesus showed his wounds. He didn’t whine over them or exaggerate them or blame the disciples. He just showed them. He wasn’t looking for pity, just showing the truth. So many of us need to unlock the doors of our woundedness so that compassionate, willing people can help. One reporter on CBS News said that “for every injured person” in Brussels, “there was a hero.” By allowing others to see our wounds, they can show compassion, and care. They help us to carry our burdens. Even the “shadow” of their care can help heal.

This is Divine Mercy Sunday. We’re hearing so much about mercy this year. Can we open ourselves to that mercy? It is related to woundedness. Mercy flows like a healing balm but only as we open the locked doors of our inner selves and let others gaze upon our wounds. Some of us have locked those doors so tightly that we don’t even recognize and admit that we are wounded. We may be too afraid to look ourselves.

This Divine Mercy Sunday offers us the opportunity to have mercy on ourselves. The risen Jesus stands in front of us. He gives us the grace of his peace. He gives it again and shows his wounds. Now he asks us to open our doors to let his peace in. He reaches out his wounded hands and touches our wounds. His peace and merciful love flow into the rawness of our wounds. His mercy heals. Alleluia!

As we are healed, we hold up our wounded world to the healing hands of Jesus. We lift up the wounded of Brussels, of Paris, of Syria and Serbia, of Boston and New York. We lift up those terribly wounded in the past and those who will be wounded tomorrow. God’s loving mercy flows continually from the wounded heart of Jesus in rays of warm, healing love. Alleluia!

Patricia DeGroot, OblSB

PRAYER

Eternal God,
in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible,
look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us,
that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent,
but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will,
which is Love and Mercy itself.

—From the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

NOTICES

EASTER URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
Pope Francis delivered the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday, following Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in the Square for the occasion, Pope Francis especially remembered the suffering peoples of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. To view the full text and video of the Urbi et Orbi message, visit http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-easter-urbi-et-orbi-a-message-of-hope.

PROVISIONAL SCHEDULE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY
A draft of the schedule for Pope Francis’ trip to Poland from July 27 to 31 for the 31st World Youth Day was presented in Krakow on Saturday. The provisional schedule may be viewed at http://www.news.va/en/news/wyd-krakow-2016-draft-schedule-released.

MOTHER TERESA CANONIZATION DATE ANNOUNCED
The Holy Father announced the upcoming canonization of five new saints, including Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (née Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), whose work among the “poorest of the poor” won her worldwide acclaim. Hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, members of the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, are expected to be in Rome for her canonization, set for September 4, 2016.

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Credible Witnesses

Posted on March 22, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, March 27, 2016, Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Detail from The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by Burnand.

Many years ago, there was a popular poster that read, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of the powerful witness of Peter to a group of Gentiles. They had been gathered by Cornelius, following a vision in which he was told to summon Peter. Peter begins by telling the story of Jesus, including that he was among those who witnessed what he did, that he witnessed Jesus after the Resurrection, that the prophets bear witness to Christ.

What does it mean to be a witness to the risen Lord in our time? What situations call for us to witness? What difference does the Resurrection make in our everyday lives?

On the surface, we might only think of witnessing as something that involves preaching or teaching, such as the priest during the homily, or a catechist who teaches religious education or leads the RCIA. We might even be a little hesitant to think about ourselves as witnesses, thinking of those who preach on street corners or who are missionaries in foreign lands. Especially when we take into consideration that those missionaries sometimes face persecution and martyrdom, like the Missionary Sisters of Charity who were killed earlier this month, we wonder if we are up to answering the call to witness to Christ!

While priests and catechists and missionaries are all witnesses, there are many other ways to witness to Christ. We know this in our hearts, but perhaps do not always reflect on the call to witness in our own lives, day-to-day, week-to-week, year-to-year. The truth is, most of us will not be called to put our lives physically on the line as a witness to Christ. Many of us may rarely be asked to speak to our faith in formal ways. And while some do preach or teach, the rest of us are called to witness in the course of our lives at home, in our workplace, parish, country, and world, through our actions, attitudes, and demeanor. Many situations in our time call for us to witness: genocide in the Middle East; immigration; human trafficking; and participation in the election process to name only a few.

Pope Francis points to this living witness: “Often today there is an attitude of indifference toward the faith which regards it as irrelevant for human life. The New Evangelization means reawakening the life of faith in the minds and hearts of our contemporaries. Faith is a gift of God; however, it is important that we Christians demonstrate that we live faith in a concrete way, through love, harmony, joy, suffering, because this gives rise to questions, as those that were raised at the beginning of the Church’s journey: Why do they live that way? What urges them on? These are questions which lead straight to the heart of evangelization, to the witness of faith and charity. What we especially need in these times are credible witnesses who make the Gospel visible by their lives as well as by their words, and who reawaken the attraction for Jesus Christ, for the beauty of God” (October 14, 2013).

Why do we live this way? Are we “credible witnesses” who make God’s love known? As we celebrate Easter Sunday, let us take to heart the mystery of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. Not only does Jesus’ resurrection show us the depths of God’s love; we are also drawn into this mystery through our baptism, in such a way that Christ’s life and light overcome the darkness, doubt, despair, and death in our human life. Death does not have the last word! This is what we are called to share as Christian witnesses! The everyday stuff of life is transformed through Christ. While we may at times lose sight of this, Easter is an annual immersion into the fullness of this mystery.

Many of us will participate in the great Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. We will witness adults and children who are initiated into Christian life and love. With them, we will renounce Satan and reaffirm our belief in Christ, and we will renew our own baptism. Throughout the Easter season, we will be sprinkled with the waters of baptism, showering us in order that we might take to heart Christ’s love and our call to witness to that love with the world through the ways in which we live our lives.

Christ is risen! May we live as witnesses to the Resurrection through all that we are and do, sharing the life and love of the risen One.

Leisa Anslinger

PRAYER

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever

—Easter Prayer of St. Hippolytus of Rome.

NOTICES

PROVISIONAL SCHEDULE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY
A draft of the schedule for Pope Francis’ trip to Poland from July 27 to 31 for the 31st World Youth Day was presented in Krakow on Saturday. The provisional schedule may be viewed at http://www.news.va/en/news/wyd-krakow-2016-draft-schedule-released.

MOTHER TERESA CANONIZATION DATE ANNOUNCED
The Holy Father announced the upcoming canonization of five new saints, including Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (née Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), whose work among the “poorest of the poor” won her worldwide acclaim. Hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, members of the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, are expected to be in Rome for her canonization, set for September 4, 2016.

EVERYDAY STEWARDSHIP NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH
La corresponsabilidad diaria: reflexiones para el viaje, by Tracy Earl Welliver, is packed full of practical examples and inspiring insights; each of these Everyday Stewardship reflections will encourage you to look more closely for God in all the ordinary moments of your life. Both English and Spanish copies of the book are now available for purchase at www.4LPi.com/store/stewardshipresources.

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Welcoming and Rejecting Our Savior

Posted on March 15, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, March 20, 2016, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Painting of Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem.

Why do we read the long narrative of Jesus’ suffering and death on Palm Sunday rather than just focus on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem?

The primary reason is liturgical. Popularly, we call this Sunday of Holy Week “Palm Sunday” because of the traditional distribution and blessing of palm branches. However, this day is properly known as “Passion Sunday.” The main focus of the celebration, in fact, is not only Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem but his ensuing passion and death. We begin the Mass with a procession into the church carrying palm branches to solemnly open Holy Week. But we are soon drawn from the joy of welcoming our King and Messiah to the stark realization of how unjustly he was condemned and how cruelly he was put to death.

As in all things liturgical, there is a practical, pastoral reason for our proclamation of the Passion on Palm Sunday. Most people are unable to attend the Good Friday liturgy. Therefore, they would only rarely hear the Passion narrative proclaimed in its entirety in the assembly of the faithful. Including it in the Palm Sunday Liturgy of the Word ensures that all the faithful—including those who may attend less frequently during the year but be drawn to this Mass because of the distribution of palms—will have their religious imagination and spirituality informed by “the Greatest Love Story Ever Told.”

Finally, I would add a spiritual reason for our yearly juxtaposition of these two events. Like the people of Jerusalem, we shift between the desire to celebrate and rejoice in the lordship of Jesus and the temptation to crucify him. We want to follow him in procession all the way to the Temple and at the same time want to put him to death so we can make ourselves god in his place. In one moment, we strive to recognize him in migrants and then, soon after, we succumb to fear that they will take our jobs and ruin our neighborhoods. The narrative of Jerusalem’s unbridled welcome of her Messiah and swift rejection of him is our story. We have experienced it throughout our lives and in particular during these past forty days as we struggled to tame our rebellious spirit through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We love our Lord and we fear him. We seek him out and flee from him. We both submit to his lordship and resent it. We celebrate his power yet covet it for ourselves.

The liturgies that begin on Palm Sunday are not strict, chronological reenactments of the events of Holy Week but an invitation to enter into the Paschal Mystery so as to apply it to our lives. For most of us, the most poignant way we experience it is in our daily struggle with temptation and sin. This confrontation with our divided hearts can leave us grief-stricken as it did for Peter after his threefold denial or even in despair as it did for Judas. Nonetheless, just as the crucifixion of the Messiah led to the world’s salvation, just so our daily struggles and frequent repentance lead to our sanctification. This is true for us as individuals, as a church, and even as a society. The celebrations that commence with this Passion Sunday remind us that salvation is God’s work accomplished in Jesus. And he advances his kingdom unlike any ruler in history—manifesting his power in weakness and triumphing through failure.

Douglas Sousa, STL

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,
you love us without reserve
yet we approach you with divided hearts.
We seek you out yet so often look past you.
We long for you but seek out short-term substitutes.
This week is called “Holy”
because it was sanctified by the sacrifice of your Son.
Through his example, may we give of ourselves freely.
May we surrender our hearts willingly.
Draw the fragmented pieces of our divided hearts together
and give us pure hearts,
pure channels of your love and grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

NOTICES

MOTHER TERESA CANONIZATION DATE ANNOUNCED
The Holy Father announced the upcoming canonization of five new saints, including Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (née Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), whose work among the “poorest of the poor” won her worldwide acclaim. Hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, members of the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, are expected to be in Rome for her canonization, set for September 4, 2016.

EVERYDAY STEWARDSHIP NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH
La corresponsabilidad diaria: reflexiones para el viaje, by Tracy Earl Welliver, is packed full of practical examples and inspiring insights; each of these Everyday Stewardship reflections will encourage you to look more closely for God in all the ordinary moments of your life. Both English and Spanish copies of the book are now available for purchase at www.4LPi.com/store/stewardshipresources.

LENTEN RESOURCES FOR PARISHES AND INDIVIDUALS
The USCCB offers special resources for Lent on its website at: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/index.cfm. From there you can download the Pope Francis’ Lenten message in this Year of Mercy and the US Bishops’ pastoral letter on the sacrament of penance, “God’s Gift of Forgiveness,” as well as other great resources.

In addition to its other resources for Lent, the USCCB is offering “40 Days of Mercy,” an online calendar for the season of Lent with daily activities and meditations. You will want to share this information with parish members, school and religious education staffs, and other interested parties. The online calendar can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/lent-calendar.cfm.

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Liberating Mercy

Posted on March 8, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, March 13, 2016, 5th Sunday of Lent

Person holding a rock depicting answer by Jesus from John 8:7.

I recently saw the small independent film, The Lady in the Van, starring Maggie Smith, otherwise known as the Countess of Grantham for all you Downton Abbey fans. (As I write this, the series finale is about to air here in the States.) The true story, which is comical and at the same time sad, surrounds Mary Shepherd, an old woman who was homeless, except for her van in which she lived. Due to some twists and turns at the start of the film, she ends up parking her van permanently in the driveway of British playwright, Alan Bennett, for an entire fifteen years. We find out as the story develops that Mary had been a novice in a convent, had been a classically trained pianist, and still had family living outside the area. This woman certainly did not have a background that one would think could lead to such an existence. However, one event truly changed the trajectory of her life. She had hit and killed a young man on a motorbike with her van, and even though she did not realize she was not at fault, she fled from the scene in panic. She lived with a guilt that consumed her and essentially drove her crazy.

Mary Shepherd was a Catholic who would pray constantly for forgiveness, going to confession over and over again to confess the same sin. The movie depicts a priest in the confessional trying to get her to understand that she has already been absolved and there was no need for her to hold onto this burden, let alone confess it again and again. The kindness shown to her by Mr. Bennett, others in the neighborhood, and even her brother who she was able to occasionally see during those fifteen years, did little to ease her paranoia and shame about this wretched event. She was held captive by her actions and fear and, sadly, could not see any possibility for forgiveness and mercy.

How many people do you think live as prisoners because of their sin and inability to believe in the power of mercy? The answer is simply, “Too many!” They believe somehow they are not worthy of love and that not even God can bear to look in their direction. They have bought into the lie of a God of wrath who would rather see his sons and daughters suffer than forgive them and see them reconciled.

This Sunday’s Gospel reading, unless you are present for the third Scrutiny and hear the story of the rising of Lazarus, features a woman caught in sin and facing a possible stoning at the hands of the scribes and Pharisees. If I imagine myself there in the story, I see a woman’s face much like that of Mary Shepherd, taken over by a sense of despair and fear at her current situation. Surely she has seen or heard others before her suffer the same dismal fate that seems to lie ahead. She is trapped and hope is only a concept that no longer has meaning.

But this time is not like the other times. Jesus is present. He stands between the condemnation of these religious figures and the woman who has sinned. The scribes and Pharisees, sensing this is no ordinary situation with Jesus present and filled with hope that he might say something so contrary to their interpretation of the law that they can bring charges against him, question Jesus about what should be done. Of course, Jesus does not disappoint them, for he has brought a new law, one tempered with mercy and love. His questioning of whom among them is without sin surely aggravates and scolds them at the same time. Jesus brings no condemnation to this woman, but instead mercy and compassion. He does not overlook her sin, but he tells her that from this point on she is to engage in this sin no more. The choice is hers and if she chooses to follow the way of life that Jesus brings to her, there will be mercy instead of condemnation, compassion instead of disdain, and life instead of death.

Jesus changes the equation for all of us. Without Jesus the wages of sin are death, but now a new life is possible where our sins are forgiven and our failings are met with mercy and love. This Year of Mercy reminds us, and all the Mary Shepherds of the world, that no transgression is so great that it can keep us from the love of God. We need to come out of the tombs we create from our guilt, shame, and fear, into the Light that gives and sustains life. We must not fear that those who are blinded by their own sin will hurl stones at us. Jesus stands between our accusers and us and brings us redemption. Finally, we must forgive ourselves for what God has already forgiven. Mercy comes not only to lift us up out of our sin, but also to liberate us. This is good news and this news is too important not to proclaim to the ends of the earth, during this Year of Mercy and beyond.

Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

PRAYER

Loving and merciful God,
through your Son’s death and resurrection,
mercy flowed over all creation,
making all things new.

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy,
may many hearts turn toward you,
seeking the mercy you freely offer,
leading to a peace passing all understanding.

Increase our capacity to love,
and as we seek to offer human mercy to others,
may you shower your Church and the world
with your divine compassion and consolation.

We ask this through the power of your Holy Spirit,
and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.
A Prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

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Our Ministry of Reconciliation

Posted on March 1, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, March 6, 2016, 4th Sunday of Lent

Photo of The Return of the Prodigal Son.

Pope Francis’ latest book, The Name of God Is Mercy, provides some wonderful reflections on mercy and forgiveness as we celebrate this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis tells us that “Mercy is the first attribute of God. The name of God is mercy. There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand.” This weekend we are presented with Luke’s incredible story of the prodigal son. Every human being can relate to some aspect of this parable as it opens us to deep reflection about all of the relationships that comprise our lives: our relationships with God, self, and others.

Regardless of what, if any, creed a person professes, all can agree that our world suffers from disordered relationships. It appears that after all these generations and centuries we still cannot figure it out. Power and domination, retribution and punishment, control and self-advancement, along with many other self-preserving philosophies detail how our daily relationships around the globe unfold.

In the midst of all of this craziness is a voice, sometimes uttered as a whisper, that is calling us to reconciliation, mercy, forgiveness, and love. We can all hear it, see it, and desire it. However, we are absolutely at a loss as to how to obtain it! Why? These realities that are in the very core of every human heart are not found in systems, ideologies, intellectual constructs, political maneuvers or positioning, or in wars. They are found in God. And only when we all figure out that our genuine happiness can only be obtained when all things—all political structures and ideologies, all nations, every people, all science, and all human endeavors and possibilities—see God and his mercy as their ultimate end, will we obtain it. As believers, we can hope and we can point to this, can’t we? After all, St. Paul reminds us this week that our primary ministry is the “ministry of reconciliation.”

This may not be something we can fully achieve in this life and perhaps God already knows that we may not. But, he puts the small examples and voices in front of us to light our way and provide reason to pause and wonder. Pope Francis tells us that “‘mercy’ derives from misericordis, which means opening one’s heart to wretchedness. And immediately we go to the Lord: mercy is the divine attitude which embraces, it is God’s giving himself to us, accepting us, and bowing to forgive.” Wow! This is nothing about power, domination, control, punishment, retribution, or anything else we associate with admitting our wrongs! It is not even God saying that we must bow down to worship him. It is quite the contrary! God bows to forgive us!

The prodigal son took a big chance but he bumped right up against his wretchedness and had nowhere else to turn. I am sure that what he met in his father may have surprised him. It certainly surprised his brother! (We’ll leave that for another reflection!) What the son met in his father is mercy. We can even go so far to say that what he met was unconditional, unreserved love! God’s name is mercy because mercy is love! And, the father’s reaction in the parable is God’s reaction to us when we go to him and square off our relationship with him and put him first: celebrate and rejoice! Then, what happens after that moment remains to be seen. If it is an authentic genuine return, we will encounter that next moment reconciled and live the rest of our lives and all the rest of our decisions with the proper perspective. We will always bring ourselves to taste God’s mercy. After all, the psalmist today reminds us of that as well: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

Last week we mourned the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He had his feet in two worlds, the secular and the religious. He felt the tension but moved forward with his relationships intact. We cannot figure our relationships out by simply giving a cordial nod to a belief in God’s merciful presence. Being a Christian is much more than that. It is not about associating with one church or another or whether one holds the letter of the law as stipulated by one’s faith. It is about an active, real relationship with God and a profound belief and acceptance of the faith that Jesus had it right when showing us the path of love and how to live with one another. Jesus showed us God’s mercy.

Our first reading from Joshua shows us what happens to the Israelites when they enter into their true homeland and the manna ceases. They are able to eat abundantly from the land they now occupied, the land they called home. We too shall eat abundantly when we come home to God. No longer will we be wandering, wondering where to find interior sustenance to fill our hunger or rest from the weary burdens of life. We will be focused, centered, and embraced by love, God’s merciful love. God’s name is love.

Pope Francis aptly quotes G. K. Chesterton: “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.” It seems that this is where many in our world have gotten themselves. Pope Francis also remarks that Pope Pius XII said, “The tragedy of our age was that it had lost its sense of sin, the awareness of sin.” Too many of the things we have created are used as cushions that keep us from experiencing the truth of our wretchedness, our sinfulness. It is harder today to “hit that brick wall” that can awake us. The simplicity of the day may have made it is easier for the prodigal son to do so. Pope Francis also states that humanity is in need of mercy “because humanity is wounded, deeply wounded. Either it does not know how to cure its wounds or it believes that it’s not possible to cure them.” I would add that an even sadder possibility is that many human beings don’t even know that they are wounded or don’t want to know! This is the stumbling block and the reason why our ministry of reconciliation and commitment to preaching by our lives are so important. Many in our world need to learn what it means to be human and how to stay on course.

Have you thought of going to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation lately?

Rev. Mark S. Suslenko

PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Amen.

——Pope Francis’ Prayer for Jubilee Year of Mercy.

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