Peace and love in Jesus Christ!
“The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” (Pope Francis, EG 1). Mother Teresa of Calcutta constantly remind me to see the face of Jesus in others. With this in mind, I moved to this beautiful parish community, and behold I saw Jesus’ face in your welcoming gestures. Someone asked me, how’s the reception of the people father? Instantly I said, they have a very Christian hospitality! I am awed by the atmosphere and spirit of openness and warmth that you have shown. It reflects the call of Pope Francis for the Churches to be inclusive and so people are welcomed and feel their belongingness.
The Holy Eucharist that we celebrate magnifies this reality. We are all gathered in the table of the Lord where everyone is welcomed. We are nourished by the love of the Father in Jesus Christ, in the Word of God we proclaim and the Communion we receive. We are truly one Body of Christ sharing our different gifts and charisms. Here, in our celebrations, we are united in love, we share our joys and sorrows, our hopes and consolations trusting always in the love and mercy of God. I bring with me as I begin my ministry of shepherding the community, my own gifts and charisms God has entrusted to me. I would like to encourage you then to share yours in our parish we call home. We journey together in the path of Jesus leading us to the Father. Let us walk together in Jesus, let us listen carefully to his words, and let us find life, solace and hope in him who has given up his life for the sake of love and our salvation.
Lastly, let us allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our journey. Let us allow the flame of fire to burn in our hearts with love for God and for one another, the breath of God to refresh us, and so even in this troubled world we can rest our souls in Him who will never abandon and leave us. I am deeply grateful indeed to Bishop Vincent who put his trust in me to become your shepherd. God bless us all!
Yours truly in Christ,
The question on the mystery of evil and suffering is prevalent since time immemorial. We ask, if there is God, or if God is powerful and almighty, why this horrendous evil actions continue to prevail? Why does he allow evil to reign? Indeed, these are real and we don’t have easy answers for them. Philosophy or any related sciences wrestle with this mystery so present in our midst. When our human mind reaches its limit, this where our Christian faith informs us. We turn to God who has spoken to us in the Scriptures, in the long tradition of the Church, and the help of the Holy Spirit who gives us the gift of wisdom and understanding. But even with all the efforts we take in the ways of faith, let us not forget that God’s being always goes beyond our capacity to grasp and understand.
This Sunday’s readings allow us to have a glimpse to this ageless questions we raised above. We have a basic conviction as Christians that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. “God, infinitely perfect and blessed himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life” (CCC no. 1). God’s greatest gift to us is our freedom. Evil and evil actions are consequently a product of the abuse of freedom.
The Book of Wisdom (First Reading) speaks of might and justice of God. But, this justice and power of God is in itself his leniency, patience, kindness and mercy. This reminds us that at the heart of God’s revelation is the face of his mercy and love to all that calls us for conversion, healing of the wounds of our sinfulness, transformation, and salvation. How does God’s leniency works? Why is God so patient with us? First, he fully knows our frailties, our weaknesses, our brokenness. Second, he gives us so much time and space to repent and change our lives, and third, he gives us hope. God also teaches those who are just to be kind and merciful.
God’s patience and mercy certainly does not give permission for evil actions to persist but rather an invitation for us to be grateful and embrace him fully in our lives. We truly need the help of the Holy Spirit to see the face of God’s mercy that saves from peril. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (Second Reading) tells us that the Spirit comes to our aid in our prayer and intercedes for us and ultimately to discover God’s will in our lives and do it. He is also the agent of transformation.
Jesus knows that we are troubled by the co-existence of good and evil in the world and in our own hearts. He enlightens us through today’s parable of the wheat and the weeds. We can surely see here God’s divine patience. In contrast to the impatience of the slaves in the parable, God reveals his justice tampered by his mercy. Jesus, hinted, however, that there is a time for judgment in the last days which we leave in the hands of God. Let us then allow the Word of God, the reign of God like the little mustard seed or the yeast to grow in our lives!