Monthly Archives: April 2019
28th of April 2019
Greetings in Christ,
The Divine Mercy Sunday!
Every second Sunday of Easter is dedicated to honor the risen Christ as Divine Mercy. The encounter of Thomas with the risen Lord, after Thomas has refused to believe the other apostles have seen Jesus, is blessed by Jesus’s compassion, mercy and forgiveness. This is not only for Thomas, but for every person, in all ages and times, struggling with the same doubts represented by Thomas. Thomas desires to see the risen Jesus. All of Thomas’s needs: spiritual hunger, thirst and quests, are fulfilled by meeting the risen Christ. Thomas’s doubts are changed into a profound acceptance of faith as he cries out “My Lord, and my God”.
Today, there are still many people doubting the Lord’s existence, due to unanswered prayers, failures, frustrations and serious incidents allowed by God to happen. All of these have been embraced by Jesus on the cross by his sufferings and death. The experience of Thomas represents us all; that is why he is doubting. By his encounter with the risen Lord, all reasons for doubting turn into faith. We now have the risen Jesus among us. We encounter Him in the Holy Eucharist, the Sacraments, and in our gatherings at Masses, as a community of believers. He speaks to us through the liturgy of God’s Words. We ask Jesus to turn our doubts, frustrations and fears into deeper faith by Jesus’ Divine Mercy and Love.
Fr. Albert B. Becher
EASTER II [C] (DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY) April 28
(Acts 5:12-16; Revelation 1:9-11a,12-13,17-19; John 20:19-31)
Introduction: The readings for this Sunday are about God’s mercy, the necessity for trusting Faith and the need for the forgiveness of sins. The opening prayer addresses the Father as “God of everlasting Mercy.” In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 118) we repeat three times, “His mercy endures forever!” God revealed His mercy, first and foremost, by sending His only-begotten Son Jesus who would become our Savior and Lord through His suffering, death and Resurrection. Divine Mercy, or the unconditional love of God, is given to us also in each celebration of the Sacraments, especially that of Reconciliation.
Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, explains how the Risen Lord continued to show His Divine Mercy to the sick through the healing and preaching ministry of the apostles in the early Church. The Faith of the apostles enabled them to minister to the people, giving them the Lord’s healing love in “signs and wonders.” The second reading, taken from the Book of Revelation, given by Jesus to the Apostle John in exile on Patmos, was intended to comfort and bolster the Faith of persecuted Christians for all time. Today’s selection assures us of the presence of the merciful Lord in our lives and encourages all of us to fight fear with Faith, and trepidation about the future with trust and Hope. Today’s Gospel recalls Jesus’ institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a Sacrament of Divine Mercy. The Risen Lord gave his apostles and their successors the power to forgive sins with the words, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20: 19-23). Presenting the doubting Thomas’ famous profession of Faith, “My Lord and my God,” the Gospel illustrates how Jesus showed his mercy to the doubting apostle and emphasizes the importance of Faith.
# 2: Divine Mercy in action: The TIME Magazine January 9, 1984 cover showed a prison cell where two men sat on metal folding chairs. The young man wore a blue turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and white running shoes. The older man was dressed in a white robe and had a white skullcap on his head. They sat facing one another, up-close and personal. They spoke quietly to keep others from hearing the conversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin (he shot and wounded the Pope on May 13, 1981); the other man was Pope St. John Paul II, the intended victim. The Pope held the hand that had held the gun whose bullet had torn into the Pope’s body. This was a living icon of mercy. John Paul’s forgiveness was deeply Christian. His deed with Ali Agfa spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the end of their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the Pope’s hand to his forehead as a sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the Pope left the cell he said, “What we talked about must remain a secret between us. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.” This is an example of God’s Divine Mercy, the same Divine Mercy Jesus spelled out to us through St. Faustina. (
Life messages: 1) Let us accept God’s invitation to celebrate and practice mercy: One way the Church celebrates God’s mercy throughout the year is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finding time for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is another good way to receive and give thanks for Divine Mercy. It is mainly through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy that we practice mercy in our daily lives and are enabled to receive God’s merciful judgment. 2) Let us ask God for the Faith that culminates in self-surrender to God and leads us to serve those we encounter with love. Living Faith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives us the willingness to render to each one our loving service. The spiritual Fathers prescribe the following traditional means to grow in the living and dynamic Faith of St. Thomas the Apostle: a) First, we must come to know Jesus personally and intimately by our daily and meditative reading of the Bible. b) Next, we must strengthen our Faith through our personal and community prayer. c) Third, we must share in the Divine Life of Jesus by frequenting the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. St. Teresa of Kolkata (Mother Teresa) presents it this way: “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve. Only then we put our love of God into action.” (L-19)
Greetings in Christ,
Blessed Easter to everyone! Jesus is risen from the dead, Alleluia, Alleluia!
The victory of Jesus at this moment is the triumph of God’s goodness and love over evil. By Jesus’ rising from the dead, he has overthrown all forms of evil, and the shadows of darkness and death. The risen Christ is now present in our hearts. We put all our trust and confidence in Him who has revealed the power and wisdom of God.
Faith in the risen Jesus is revealed to us in these ways; by the empty tomb, by the many appearances of Jesus to his disciples, and by remembering the words of Jesus that on the third day after his death he would be raised. All these require our acceptance, most of all by faith and not only by sight. The risen body of Jesus is no longer limited to space and time. This happens by Jesus’ miraculous appearances to the disciples. Jesus did this to assuage their doubts and fears, by changing them into faith in Him – the risen one.
We all are called to live our faith by casting our doubts and fears upon the risen Christ among us. He is present in his Words, and in his Body, Blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist, present in all the Sacraments, and in our congregations gathered in His name. He is present most of all in our hearts. Happy Easter!
Fr. Albert B. Becher
Significance of Easter: “Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.” Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church for four reasons:
1) The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith. It is the greatest of the miracles, for it proves that Jesus is God. That is why St. Paul writes: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in vain” (I Cor 15:14). “Jesus is Lord, He is risen” (Rom 10:9), was the central theme of the kerygma (or “preaching”), of the Apostles
2) Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will live even though he dies…” (Jn 11:25-26).
3) Easter is a feast which gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows and tears. It reminds us that life is worth living. It also gives us strength to fight against temptations and freedom from unnecessary worries and fears.
4) Easter gives meaning to our prayers: It supports our belief in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus in and around us, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament and in Heaven, hearing our prayers, and so gives meaning to our personal as well as our communal prayers.
Reasons why we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus (1) Jesus himself testified to his Resurrection from the dead, giving it as a sign of his divinity. (Mark 8:31; Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). Tear down this temple and in three days I will build it again” (Jn 2: 19).
(2) The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday (Luke 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Matthew 28:13), that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it was impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to steal the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by an armed, 16-member Roman Guard detachment.
(3) The initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in Jesus’ Resurrection, despite His repeated apparitions, serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. Their initial disbelief explains why the Apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
(4) The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: Jesus’ Resurrection and the anointing of the Holy Spirit transformed men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19), into men who now were confident and bold witnesses to the Resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2) powerfully preaching the Risen Lord.
(5) Neither the Jews nor the Romans could disprove Jesus’ Resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus.
(6) The Apostles and early Christians would not have fearlessly preached Christ as Savior and faced martyrdom if they were not sure of Jesus’ Resurrection.
(8) The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian Church, bravely facing and surviving three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the Resurrection claim.
(9) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. The Apostles and the early Christians were sure about the Resurrection of Jesus.
Life Messages: 1) Let us live the lives of Resurrection people: We are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins, evil habits, dangerous addictions, despair, discouragement or doubts. Instead, we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the living presence of the Risen Lord Who loves us in all the events of our lives and amid the boredom, suffering, pain and tensions of our day-to-day life.
2) The conviction of the real presence of the Risen Lord with us and within us and all around us, enables us to lead disciplined Christian lives. It will help us to control our thoughts, desires, words, behavior and actions.
3) This salutary awareness of the presence of the Risen Lord within us inspires us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure and free from evil habits and addictions. Our conviction that the loving presence of the Risen Lord dwells in our neighbors and in all those we encounter, should encourage us to respect them and to render them loving, humble and selfless service.
4) We need to become transparent Christians, radiating the Risen Lord around us in the form of selfless and sacrificial agape love, mercy, compassion and a spirit of humble service
GOOD FRIDAY, (April 19): CHALLENGE TO CARRY OUR CROSSES
The cross and the crucifix are meaningful symbols, as the dove symbolizes peace and the heart symbolizes love. The crucifix and the cross are the symbols of the loving and sacrificial offering of self for others. First, it is only in the cross that we see the face of God’s love. There is no greater love than that of a person who is willing to die for another, and the cross tells this love story. Second, the cross is the symbol of the remission of our sins: The Bible says that when Jesus died, he took all our sins on himself on the cross, and so he conquered sin and the devil’s power forever. Whenever we see the cross, we should realize that Jesus, bruised and crushed, died for our iniquities. “But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” (Is 53:5). Third, the cross is the symbol of humble self-emptying for others. It is the symbol of the cross-bearing Christ leading us in our life’s journey of pain and suffering, carrying his heavier cross and still encouraging us, strengthening us, and supporting us. Fourth, the cross is the symbol of the risen Christ who promises us a crown of glory as a reward for our patient bearing of our daily crosses.
(B) The Cross always means pain. But the pain I suffer for myself is not Christ’s cross unless I offer my suffering with His on the cross for the salvation of all of us. The true cross of Christ is the pain I suffer for others. It is the sanctifying pain we experience in sharing our blessings sacrificially with others. It is also the pain we suffer in controlling our evil tendencies responding to God’s loving invitation to us to a higher degree of holiness. It is, as well, the pain we suffer because we are standing with Jesus, his ideas and ideals and gladly following him and accepting scorn and humiliation from the rest of the world.
(C) Our crosses come to us mainly from four sources. Some of our crosses, like diseases, natural disasters and death, are rise from natural causes. We face other crosses when we do our duties faithfully. Our friends and enemies supply a few of our crosses. Finally, we ourselves cause many of our crosses as natural consequences of careless living and evil addictions.
(D) Good Friday presents us with the question: Why should we carry our crosses willingly? First, cross-bearing is a condition for Christian discipleship. Jesus said: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me”(Mt 16:24). Second, it is by carrying our crosses that we make reparation for our sins and for the sins of others related to us. That is why St. Paul said that he was suffering in his body what is “lacking” in Christ’s suffering. Third, it is by carrying our crosses that we become imitators of Christ in his suffering for us. St. Paul explains it thus: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2: 19-20).
Life messages: We should carry our crosses with the right motives: This means that we should not carry our crosses cursing our fate as does a donkey unwilling to carry its load. Nor should we protest as do the oxen or horses pulling their carts. Our motive should not be to earn a reward from God as hired workers labor for their wages. We should carry our crosses like a loving wife who nurses her paralyzed husband or sick child, with sacrificial love and dedicated commitment. The carrying of our crosses becomes easier when we compare our light crosses with the heavy crosses of terminally-ill patients or patients in emergency wards. We need to draw strength and inspiration from Jesus Who walks ahead of us carrying his heavier cross, while supporting us in carrying our crosses.
Holy Thursday (April 18) (Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; I Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15)
Introduction: On Holy Thursday we celebrate three anniversaries: 1) the anniversary of the first Holy Mass, 2) the anniversary of the institution of ministerial priesthood in order to perpetuate the Holy Mass, convey God’s forgiveness to repentant sinners and preach the Good News of Salvation, and 3) the anniversary of Jesus’ promulgation of His new commandment of love: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Today we remember how Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover into the New Testament Passover. The Jewish Passover was, in fact, a joint celebration of two ancient thanksgiving celebrations. The descendants of Abel, who were shepherds, used to lead their sheep from the winter pastures to the summer pastures after the sacrificial offering of a lamb to God. They called this celebration the “Pass over.” The farming descendants of Cain, however, held a harvest festival called the Massoth in which they offered unleavened bread to God as an act of thanksgiving. The Passover feast of the Israelites (Exodus 12:26-37), was a harmonious combination of these two ancient feasts of thanksgiving, commanded by the Lord God and celebrated yearly by all Israelites to thank God for the miraculous liberation of their ancestors from Egyptian slavery, their exodus from Egypt, and their final arrival in the Promised Land.
Scripture lessons: In the first reading, God gives the Hebrews two instructions: prepare for the moment of liberation by a ritual meal and make a symbolic mark on your homes to exempt the families within each from the coming slaughter. In the second reading, Paul suggests that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper was an unbroken tradition from the very beginning of the Church. By it, Christians gratefully remembered the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover into the Eucharistic celebration. After washing the feet of his Apostles and commanding them to do humble service for each other, Jesus, in addition to serving the roasted Paschal lamb, concluded the ceremony by giving his Apostles his own body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine as spiritual food and drink,
“You don’t recognize me, do you?” There is an old legend about Leonardo DaVinci’s painting of the Last Supper. In all his paintings, he tried to find someone to pose that fit the face of the particular character he was painting. Out of hundreds of possibilities he chose a 19-year old to portray Jesus. It took him six months to paint the face of Jesus. Seven years later DaVinci started hunting for just the right face for Judas. Where could he find one that would portray that image? He looked high and low. Down in a dark Roman dungeon he found a wretched, unkempt prisoner who could strike the perfect pose. The prisoner was released to his care and when the portrait of Judas was complete the prisoner said to the great artist, “You don’t recognize me, do you? I am the man you painted seven years ago for the face of Christ. O God, I have fallen so low.”
1) A challenge for humble service. Our celebration of the Eucharist requires that we wash one another’s feet, i.e., serve one another, and revere Christ’s presence in other persons. In practical terms, that means we are to consider their needs to be as important as our own and to serve their needs, without expecting any reward.
2) A loving invitation for sacrificial sharing and self-giving love. Let us imitate the model of self-giving love which Jesus offers us when He shares with us his own body and blood for our spiritual nourishment and enriches us with his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. It is by sharing our blessings – our talents, time, health and wealth – with others that we become true disciples of Christ and obey Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
3) An invitation to become Christ-bearers and Christ-conveyers: “Go forth, the Mass is ended,” really means, “Go in peace to love and serve one another.’’ We are to carry Jesus to our homes and places of work, conveying to others around us the love, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of humble service of Christ whom we carry with us.
Palm/Passion Sunday [April 14] Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14 -23:56-L/19
Introduction: The Church celebrates today as both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday Today’s liturgy combines contrasting moments of glory (“Hosanna”) and suffering (“Crucify him”) – the royal welcome given to Jesus by his followers and the drama of his unjust trial culminating in his crucifixion. Holy Week challenges us to remember and relive the events which brought about our redemption and salvation, to appreciate gratefully the price Jesus paid for our salvation, and to return God’s love for us (expressed through the suffering and death of Jesus), by loving others. The meditation on these Paschal mysteries should enable us to do our own dying to sin and rising with Jesus, which will result in our healing, reconciliation, and redemption. Proper participation in the Holy Week liturgy will also deepen our relationship with God, increase our Faith, and strengthen our lives as disciples of Jesus.
Scripture lessons: Today’s first reading, found in the prophecy of Isaiah, is called the third Servant Song. Jesus saw aspects of his own life and mission foreshadowed in the Servant Songs. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 22) expresses Jesus’ agony on the Cross and His unfailing trust in His Heavenly Father. The second reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, is an ancient Christian hymn representing a very early Christian understanding of who Jesus is, and of how his mission saves us from sin and death. The first part of today’s Gospel (Lk 19:28-40) describes the royal reception which Jesus received from his admirers. They paraded with him for two miles, from the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem. In the second part of today’s Gospel (Lk 22:14—23:56), we listen to the Passion of Christ according to Luke. We are challenged to examine our own lives in the light of some of the characters in the story like Peter who denied Jesus, Judas who betrayed Jesus, Pilate who acted against his conscience and condemned Jesus to death on the cross, Herod who ridiculed Jesus and the leaders of the people who preserved their positions by getting rid of Jesus. The reading reminds us that Jesus died for our sins.
“Either give up Christ or give up your jobs.” Constantine the Great was the first Christian Roman emperor. His father Constantius I who succeeded Diocletian as emperor in 305 A.D. was a pagan with a soft heart for Christians. When he ascended the throne, he discovered that many Christians held important jobs in the government and in the court. So, he issued an executive order to all those Christians: “Either give up Christ or give up your jobs.” The great majority of Christians gave up their jobs rather than disowning Christ. Only a few cowards gave up their religion rather than lose their jobs. The emperor was pleased with the majority who showed the courage of their convictions and gave their jobs back to them saying: “If you will not be true to your God you will not be true to me either.” Today we join the Palm Sunday crowd in spirit to declare our loyalty to Christ and fidelity to his teachings by actively participating in the Palm Sunday liturgy. As we carry the palm leaves to our homes, we are declaring our choice to accept Jesus as the King and ruler of our lives and our families. Let us express our gratitude to Jesus for redeeming us by his suffering and death, through our active participation in the Holy Week liturgy and our reconciliation with God and His Church, repenting of our sins and receiving God’s pardon and forgiveness from Jesus through His Church.
Life messages: Let us try to answer five questions today: 1) Does Jesus weep over my sinful soul as he wept over Jerusalem at the beginning of his Palm Sunday procession? 2) Am I a barren fig tree? God expects me to produce fruits of holiness, purity, justice, humility, obedience, charity, and forgiveness. Do I? Or do I continue to produce bitter fruits of impurity, injustice, pride, hatred, jealousy and selfishness? 3) Will Jesus have to cleanse my heart with his whip? Jesus cannot tolerate the desecration of the temple of his Holy Spirit in me by my addiction to uncharitable, unjust and impure thoughts words and deeds; neither is Jesus pleased by my calculation of loss and gain in my relationship with God. 4) Do I welcome Jesus into my heart? Am I ready to surrender my life to him during this Holy Week and welcome him into all areas of my life as my Lord and Savior? The palms should remind us that Christ is our King and the true answer to our quest for happiness and meaning in life. 5) Am I like the humble donkey that carried Jesus? Let us carry and radiate Jesus’ universal love, unconditional forgiveness and sacrificial service to our families, and communities.
Today is Palm Sunday, which begins Holy Week. In the Gospel we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. This is the most important time in our faith, when Jesus offers his life to set us free from the evil and slavery of sin. We are called to surrender our sins to God, rejoice in being forgiven, and to start living a new life. Please be guided accordingly by joining our Holy Week activities.
Tuesday will be the blessing of Holy Oils at the Cathedral of the Virgin de Guadalupe. Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. is the final time offered for Reconciliation before Easter Sunday.
Triduum, or “The Three Days”, begins on Holy Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with a celebration of the Last Supper and Adoration until midnight in the Chapel. On Good Friday we will observe the Stations of the Cross at 2:00 p.m., and, at 7:30 p.m., Venerations of the Cross and Communion. On Holy Saturday the Easter Vigil Ceremony begins at 8:30 p.m.
The solemn Liturgical services of the Triduum reflect on the suffering and passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, revealing the loving, saving power of God.
Fr. Albert B. Becher, Pastor
Lent V [C] (April 7) Is 43:16-21; Phil 3:8-14; John 8:1-11
Introduction: Reminding us of God’s readiness to forgive sin, give the sinner a second chance, bind up broken lives, and restore people to His friendship, today’s readings challenge us to show the same mercy to the sinners around us and to live as forgiven people, actively seeking reconciliation with God and with one another. The central theme of all three readings is a merciful God’s steadfast love. The readings remind us that we should not be self-righteous and condemn the lives of others when God is calling them tenderly to conversion.
Scripture lessons summarized: Explaining how a merciful God forgives the sins of His chosen people and leads them back from the Babylonian exile, the first reading reminds us that we too are forgiven, and we are saved from our own sinfulness. In the second reading, Paul presents himself as a forgiven sinner who has been completely transformed by his Faith in Christ Jesus. His life is an example of the Gospel exhortation, “Sin no more.” Paul loves Christ so much he wants to share in His sufferings and even in His death so that he may share Christ’s Resurrection. The sinful woman’s story of sin committed, and sin forgiven in today’s Gospel, shows the inexhaustible mercy and compassion Jesus gives to repentant sinners. In addition, by making sinlessness the condition for throwing the first stone, Jesus forces the accusers to assess their own souls and to leave. Thus, He grants justice to the accusers and mercy to the sinful woman. In our own lives, we bear witness to the Justice of God by confessing our sinfulness and resolving to avoid sin, and we bear witness to God’s Mercy by accepting the forgiveness of our sins and promising to forgive those who have offended us.
Divine mercy on Chuck Colson: Probably, Chuck Colson (Charles Chuck Wendell Colson, 1931-2012) got inspiration from John Profumo to make a similar served seven months in the Federal Prison, Maxwell, Alabama, for acting as President Nixon’s “hatchet man” in the Watergate Scandal. After his prison term, Colson became an Evangelical Christian leader who founded Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint. He was the founder and chairman of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, which is “a research, study, and networking center for growing in a Christian worldview.” While Colson lived, the Center’s work included Colson’s daily radio commentary, Break Point, which was heard in its original format on more than 1,400 outlets across the United States. Colson was a principal signer of the 1994 Evangelicals and Catholics Together ecumenical document. He was joined by leading Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholic leaders in the United States. Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus restored a sinful woman by lavishing on her his Divine mercy and forgiveness. She may have become Christ’s follower bearing witness to his mercy till her death.
Life messages: # 1: We need to become forgiving people, ready for reconciliation: Jesus has shown inexhaustible mercy and compassion to sinners by dying for our sins. But we are often self-righteous, like the Pharisees, and ready to spread scandal about others with a bit of spicy gossip. We are judgmental about the unmarried mother, the alcoholic, the drug addict and the shop-lifter, ignoring Jesus’ command: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Let us learn to acknowledge our sins, ask God’s forgiveness every day and extend the same forgiveness to our erring brothers and sisters. We need to learn to hate the sin but love the sinners, showing them mercy, compassion, sympathy and acceptance, leading them to Jesus’ ways by our own exemplary lives.
2) We have no right to judge others: We have no right to judge others because we often commit the very faults we condemn, we are often partial and prejudiced in our judgments, and we do not know the circumstances which have led someone to sin. Hence, let us leave the judgment to our merciful God Who does read people’s hearts. We should show mercy and compassion to those who sin because we ourselves are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. The apostle Paul reminds us: “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.” (1 Cor 11:31).
Greetings in Christ,
In this week’s Gospel, the woman’s encounter with Jesus becomes an opportunity for her to receive God’s forgiving love and mercy. This is a very critical situation for the woman, not knowing what will happen to her. The Scribes and the Pharisees tell Jesus that, according to the law of Moses, she should be stoned to death for being caught in adultery. This encounter with God is not only for the woman, but also for the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus reveals God’s wisdom and forgiving power.
Jesus comes for all of us, to tell us about the power of God’s forgiving love and mercy. Even more, God gives every sinner an opportunity to live a new life, by the grace of being forgiven. This is the purpose of Jesus’ coming – to be a part of our lives, to set us free from the evil of slavery to sin, and to give us freedom in the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us genuine peace and joy in our hearts.
Everyone is invited to avail themselves of the grace of God’s forgiveness through the “Light is ON for You”. In addition to our regularly-scheduled weekly times for Reconciliation, we are offering two additional evenings, with extra priests. Please join us this coming Wednesday, April 10 at 6:30 pm, or on Holy Wednesday, April 17, also at 6:30 pm.
Fr. Albert B. Becher