St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

God is Merciful -Homily January 31, 2016

God is Merciful                                                                          -Homily January 31, 2016

 

In the readings of today we see that God may ask us to endure difficult things, but he provides us with the means to succeed. The prophet is asked not to break down before the people, but God says to him: “They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you to deliver you.” Jesus also says what he has to say to the people of his hometown, and they try to kill him, but they do not succeed. God is merciful with his prophet, God is there to help. There is a trial, but there is a way out. Love is patient to endure the trial, love is kind because it does not take revenge. Jesus just passed through the midst of them, without hurting anyone. God uses his mercy with his prophet, so that the prophet may be merciful to others. God is merciful to us sinners, so that we may be merciful even to our enemies.

 

Jesus was sent by God to release the captives and give sight to the blind. Jesus is the face of the Mercy of God. Let me relate today the mercy of God with the concept of father, so that we may understand better what it means that God is merciful, and what it means that God is “our Father.”

 

1.  What is to be a father? To be a father is to give life to someone else. And it is beautiful, because you see that another person is alive thanks to you. The fact that this child is here, healthy, happy, the fact that he speaks and can enjoy life is thanks to you. A father enjoys that he has a child, he enjoys that the child is there, alive, happy, thanks to him.

 

God is our Father because he gave us life, and he wants to give us everything, to give us as much happiness and joy as you can think of. God is good. God is merciful. God is not happy if you are not happy. The joy of God is to see that you are good, that you do good, and that you enjoy doing good. The joy of God is to see you happy. The joy of God is that you love him. Do we love God? Well, nothing gives more joy to God than to see that we love him.

 

2.  Jesus comes to release the captives. What a terrible thing to be in prison! But some people who are not in prison in the body, feel that they are in prison in their spirit, because they are oppressed by fears, by addictions, by sin, by depression. The worst prison is not jail, but sin: “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Jesus came to deliver us, so that we may enjoy true freedom. Freedom is not just the possibility of doing whatever we want. Freedom is the strength to do whatever we want. Freedom is not indetermination, but self-determination. Freedom is what allows a soldier to risk his life for his country, what allows a mother to sacrifice her own interests for those of her children, what allows a martyr to give up his life to preserve his faith. When we are enslaved to sinful pleasure, ambition, human respect, we cannot be truly free. Jesus wants us to be free, to enjoy the talents he gave us, but most of all to enjoy his love, and to love him back. God is good, God gave us life to be happy, but there is no happiness without God. There is no happiness without freedom, there is no freedom if we sin.

 

That is why the true gift of freedom implies sometimes saying no to your children, and that is why our parents sometimes said “no” to us. Freedom has a price, which is self-denial. If you are not strong enough to say “no” to certain things, those things overpower you, and you cannot be truly free. The freedom God came to give us is a power to conquer worlds, it is a force, it is the courage of a warrior who cannot be overcome by fear of death. It is freedom from sin, it is freedom to love, to love God and our neighbour without counting the cost. God is good, because he makes us truly free.

 

3. God is a good Father, God is merciful. Jesus came to give sight to the blind. Is it good to be blind? But the worst blindness is when you cannot see a reason for living, when you cannot see the meaning of life. “What I am here for? Why I am here? Where do I go?” Even if you have to wear glasses or have to use a cane to walk, the most important thing is that you know where you are going, that you are going to Heaven. Jesus came to proclaim the good news that love is rewarded, that our good works are rewarded, that our sacrifices for the people we love are rewarded, that there is a God in heaven waiting for us to embrace us for ever. God wants to be with us, God invites us to his home, and that is why, no matter how difficult life is, there is hope, there is light at the end of the hallway, there is a happy end, there is life after death, there is infinite happiness. We desire to be with God, God looks forward to being with us, and one day it will happen. That is the joy of a Christian, a joy that nobody can take away from us.

 

God is good, God is merciful, God is our Father. If he asks you to do something difficult, trust him, it is good for you. If he tells you not to do something, trust him, it will not be good for you if you disobey him. And if you follow him and obey him, you will be able to say: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.” (cf. Psalm 23). 

–Fr. Andrew

 

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This is an excerpt of an email that Rob Vandenberg received from Fr. Lawrence who is the Pastor in the First Nation Community of Pic Mobert and surrounding area.

 

Dear Rob,

 

Greetings from Fr. Lawrence.

 

I personally want to thank you for all that you, as a parish community, have done to our parish especially to the native people. The principal told me that the children were very very happy with the gifts and I distributed the sweaters and other gifts to the elders and the native children at White River respectively.

 

I am so grateful to you and for all the parishioners who were so generously helping our people here. As the Bible says, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters that you do unto me.” Yes You did to the Lord and made your Christmas meaningful.

 

May God bless all of you abundantly.

 

Sincerely Yours,

 

Fr. Lawrence