It’s Christ who should be taking us places!!!

Divine Mercy Sunday
Acts 4:32-35 / 1 John 5:1-6 / John 20:19-31

In a medieval church in Sicily
a Christian sight seer and writer had
just experienced a most incredible piece of art—
a huge mosaic of Jesus.

It was a dazzling sight to behold—
this mosaic of Jesus moved him—
it touched his soul—
He knew Jesus was calling him to more.

It was Jesus reaching out to the whole world.

And after this incredible spiritual experience—
on leaving the church—
he was approached by a street vendor
selling religious trinkets.

The vendor held up a cheap memento
with the mosaic of Jesus stamped on it.

“Don’t you want to take a little
of Jesus with you, mister?” the peddler asked.

No, he realized . . . No—
it’s not that we should be taking Christ with us—
but it’s Christ who should be taking us places!!! (JP, Pentecost 2018, 23)

It’s not that we should be taking Christ with us—
but it’s Christ who should be taking us places!!!

Many times—many times—
taking us to places we may not want to go!!!!

It’s like Jesus told St. Peter:

When you were younger,
immature in your faith,
you used to dress yourself and
go where you wanted to go. . .

but when you grow old,
when have a more mature faith—

you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you and
lead you where you do not want to go.”

Oh, how we like to be in control!!!

So, on this Divine Mercy Sunday,
where does Jesus want to take us?

I had a conversation with
one of my classmates from
school a few months ago.

She was Catholic and had just discovered
that I had become a priest.

And since I wasn’t much of Christian
when I was in school—
I had no idea what a devoted Christian she was.

We had a wonderful conversation.

And one of the things we talked about
was her parents’ divorce—
which I wasn’t even aware of
when we were in school together.

She told me that she couldn’t even
enjoy her medical school graduation
because both of her parents were there and
she was anxious and afraid.

Anxious and afraid they would
get in some huge fight
and ruin the whole thing.

What should have been a great day—
a day of rejoicing—
a day of celebration—
turned into a worrisome burden.

And as the years went on—
anger and resentment build up in her
because of what the divorce cost her.

She said her wedding day was the same.
full of anxiety and fear—
nothing but a worrisome burden.

And every major holiday—
that anger and resentment would bubble up
like a volcano ready to erupt.

One Thanksgiving,
hustling to reach out to both mom and dad—
and envying other families who
were together and happy and celebrating—
she had had enough!!!

She was driven to her knees—
where she prayed.

And as she prayed—
she let out all of that anger and
frustration and resentment to God!!!!

And Jesus responded in her anguish!!!
Jesus was there.

Jesus said, “Go to the cross with me—
go to the cross with me.”

So, she went and opened up her Bible to
the crucifixion scene in Luke—
and she read these words:

Father, forgive them,
they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

And my friend said that her whole
spiritual life changed as she took in
all that Jesus was telling her that day:

Father, forgive them,
they know not what they do.

First, she realized the brokenness of
her dad and mom.

She started thinking about all the difficulties and
the complexities and the challenges
they had faced in their lives—
and the toll it had taken.

She saw them—
for the first time—
from the perspective of Jesus looking
down upon them from the Cross.

She saw them through Jesus’ eyes of mercy.

She realized—
in their brokenness—
perhaps they had done the
best they could do.

And she cried!!!

From then on—
even now—
she tries to look at everyone through
the merciful eyes of Jesus hanging from the Cross.

Mercy—mercy made a difference!!!

And then she started thinking about herself.

And she cried!!!

How many people had she hurt people—
Probably not even realizing it—
hurting others through her own wounded-ness—
wounded because of the difficulties and
the complexities and the challenges in her life—
and the toll they had taken.

How she had spread her wounded-ness to others.

And she saw Jesus looking at her—
Through his merciful eyes hanging from the Cross.

Mercy—mercy made a difference.

So where does Jesus want to take us
on this Divine Mercy Sunday?

He wants to take us to
the Cross where we will receive mercy.

He wants to take us to the Cross
where we will learn to be merciful.

Mercy—mercy makes a difference!!!

As Jesus told St. Faustina:
“Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God.” (Diary, No. 301)

As Jesus told St. Faustina:
“Be always merciful as I am merciful.” (Diary, No. 1695)

That’s where Jesus wants to take us—
to the Cross—
to the place of mercy.

But there is another place that
Jesus wants to take us—
He wants to take us to a place of healing!!!

Jorje Valls was a Cuban poet and
political activist who spent 20 years in
a Fidel Castro jail—20 years.

Listen to his testimony—

I have never, in my entire life been as free
as when I was in prison.

Why?

Because defeated, humiliated,
Famished . . . there was one thing that
remained deep within me,
one thing that others couldn’t take,
an indestructible thing,
the only thing that I could keep:
my dignity, my interior freedom.
This made me see others,
the prisoners, my compatriots,
or the guards, the torturers,
with another view.

I learned, over the years,
that it was this view that counted,
that made me live.

This is what made me forgive my persecutors.

It was this forgiveness that I taught
to my companions in misery.

I learned and said over twenty years to
those around me
that was the only important,
essential thing.

If I hadn’t forgiven,
I would have become like my persecutors,
that is to say, full of hate.

Forgiveness prevents us from
becoming a rabid beast.

Forgiveness puts us above woe, hate, disdain.

My enemy became my brother. (Philippe, Beatitudes 155)

Could you hear it?

Could you hear the healing that
came from forgiveness—from mercy?

Listen again:
If I hadn’t forgiven,
I would have become like my persecutors,

Forgiveness prevents us from
becoming a rabid beast.

Forgiveness puts us above woe, hate, disdain.

My enemy became my brother.
The vendor standing outside the church asked,
“Don’t you want to take a little
Jesus with you, mister?”

No, he realized . . .
we don’t take Christ with us—
it’s Christ who always takes us places!!! (JP, Pentecost 2018, 23)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ—
Jesus wants to take us to the Cross—
where we experience mercy—
and we learn mercy.

And Jesus wants to take us to the resurrection—
to the Upper Room
where he says: Peace be with you.

Where He lets Thomas place his
fingers in his once bloody wounds—
To see—
To touch—
To know that with mercy—
comes healing.

Healing of our own
wounded-ness and brokenness.

And where others can be healed
because of our wounded-ness and brokenness.

Out of mercy flows mercy—
Out of mercy flows healing.

That’s where Jesus wants to take us today—
He wants to take us—
to Mercy!!!

Holy Spirit 04/07-08/2018

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