“His mercy…is the face of God, in which Jesus brings us new growth and life.”
On Tuesday of Holy Week, I celebrated the Chrism Mass at San Fernando Cathedral, with the sanctuary of that historic worship space filled with priests and laity from every region and area of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The service embodies who we are as a local church, constantly evolving and growing.
At that liturgy, the presbyterate renewed their vows concerning Christ’s mission; to bring the Good News to the poor, to set the downtrodden free, to be fonts of mercy to those in need of forgiveness. This is not always easy, but it’s not impossible either. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit, with whom we are collaborators.
In his Easter Sunday homily last year, Pope Francis stated, “The Holy Spirit does not remove evil with a magic wand. But he pours into us the vitality of life, which is not the absence of problems, but the certainty of being loved and always forgiven by Christ, who for us has conquered sin, death and fear.” The Holy Father said we will continue to see problems, both within and without; that they will always be there, but that it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, to evangelize them.
Indeed, with the Resurrection of Christ, his victory over death, we are called to a new life in Jesus!
As St. Paul tells the Colossians, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, trust him! He will receive you with open arms. If following Him seems difficult, do not be afraid. He is close to you, and will give you strength and peace.
Faith evolves in stages, and for many, it might have been dormant or lukewarm. Someone or some experience along the way has encouraged us and lifted us up. The Lord does not demand perfection; he embraces sinners and does not chastise. His mercy is the opposite of hearts turned cold; for mercy is the face of God, in which Jesus brings us new growth and life.
When the apostles could not find the Lord’s body after his resurrection, they were confused and full of questions, “While they were perplexed about this…” (Luke 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing happen to us when something new occurs? We don’t understand or know what to do. Newness often makes us afraid. We are afraid of God’s surprises.
Our problems and worries can also trap us in sadness and depression sometimes, but Jesus is not dead, he has risen and is alive! Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and the future. This is a message meant for us.
In our time, when there are so many voices wanting to bury or forget our heavenly Father, we are called to faithfulness. With hearts full of joy, let us thank the Lord for each other, for our families, our parishes, and our communities. We are an Easter people. May Christ reign in your heart and your family these days.