A Message from Monsignor Jay…
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Last Sunday evening, Fr. Josh and I attended a Solemn Evening Prayer Service with Archbishop Lori and a number of priests in the presence of the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. The present-day successor of St. John Vianney, Fr. Patrice Chocholski, was with us. He said that the heart of the Cure of Ars, a heart of mercy, continues to inspire and guide the life and ministry of his parish today and is a source of inspiration for him as the present day Cure of Ars. He made the point that John Vianney had to empty his heart of his own desires so that he could receive God’s mercy and be transformed into a minister of God’s mercy. At the heart of all that we do as a parish, we too need the guidance and transformation of God’s mercy. Are we ready to receive God’s abundant mercy in our hearts?
Let’s be honest – God’s mercy is a fearful thing; it calls us to be vulnerable in the face of human suffering and to care for others even when there is a chance that they may take advantage of us. That is why God revealed the power of his mercy in the suffering of Christ on the Cross. God enfolds us in his mercy in the face of our choices to ignore or discount his word, or even to admit our need for it. The questions remain: Do we seek to have merciful hearts? What do merciful hearts accomplish? On the Thirty-First Sunday of the last liturgical year, I preached a homily on the challenge of loving our neighbor and how we can always justify not doing it. Among the examples I used was a mention of the caravan that was approaching our country’s southern border at that time. I acknowledged it was a complicated situation but asked if saying no to those seeking safety in our country was loving our neighbor? Some folks walked out at that point and an usher told me one said: “That damned priest should not have mentioned the caravan.” I have been called worse, and I believe anyone can disagree with what I say in homily or in any other forum, but close-mindedness and hard-heartedness to the Gospel imperil one’s soul.
In a few weeks, we will initiate this year’s Appeal for Catholic Ministries. It has been renamed to more precisely identify what the appeal supports – the Church’s Corporal Works of Mercy. In this time of trouble in our church and skepticism about the use of church finances, it is very clear to me that all the monies raised through this appeal support the church’s ministry of mercy to those most in need. All of us can find an excuse not to support it, but this failure only hurts those who need mercy the most. Over the next few weeks, prayerfully seek to receive God’s mercy in your hearts. Plan to generously support this noble cause that reveals the goodness of our church in great works of mercy that transform people’s lives and our world in Christ’s name. We do works of mercy not because people deserve them, but because we are Jesus’ missionary disciples, whose hearts are full of his mercy, sent to bring his mercy to the face of the earth.
May God’s Peace be Yours,