|Weekly Message from the Pastor|
Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Go Make Disciples
The mercy of God will not be constrained and in these early years of the third millennium the gospel message continues to be proclaimed in the lives of the saints. Devotion to the Divine Mercy was promoted by St. Faustina Kowalska, who was canonized on April 30, 2000 by St. John Paul II. It is a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that humankind will experience in the years to come. Jesus comes to save us, not from our difficulties and trials, but from the idolatry of self that has been the scourge of sinful humanity since Adam. The message of the cross is not that we can be saved from suffering and death, but that life is the ultimate victor. It is the role of the Church to bring about this miracle despite the apparent evidence to the contrary. Our devotion to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers continues to add new members to the community. The goal of our faith is the salvation of souls and we do this with the presence of Christ in our midst, not just symbolically, but actually. Any doubts we might have are dispelled like those of Thomas, when we can touch him in the sacraments and feel his breath within us in order to fulfill our mission to forgive the sins of the world. The apostles who saw the risen Lord recognized that the crucified Jesus had indeed been raised from the dead, but it was in the confession of Thomas that the law, the writings and the prophets all came together, that Jesus is both Christ and God…“my Lord and my God.” The Church grew in holiness and in numbers, not because of fear, or even joy. The Church flourished then just as it does now…out of deep awareness of God’s mercy and a profound sense of gratitude.
It is gratitude that compels us to action and drives the message of the gospel. Despite the failures of the twelve, and in the face of their fear and isolation, Jesus passed through the locked doors and stood in their midst bringing his peace that went beyond their understanding, but not beyond their experience. They were grateful that in spite of everything that had happened, the mercy of God was lavished upon them. It was out of gratitude that they had the courage to stand in the face of ridicule, abuse and eventual martyrdom to advance the message of the gospel…to make disciples, baptize and teach. We continue this same great commission today, not because we are supposed to, but because we must. Like them we are compelled from gratitude to be generous and lavish, just as God has been with us. As it was with those first disciples, we too share our gifts with the community and labor to bring the gospel to the world that so desperately needs to hear it.