04/07/2019 - A SOUL SET FREE REJOICES!

A SOUL SET FREE REJOICES!

JOY UNLEASHES THE GOSPEL!

As our Archbishop leads us through this new phase, from being an inward/maintenance focused Church to being an outward/missionary focused Church, he reminds us that if the Gospel is to be unleashed in our families, our homes, and our communities, it must first be unleashed in our own hearts and lives.

FREEDOM FROM JUDGMENTS AND NEGATIVE WORDS SPOKEN AGAINST US

In our Lord’s time, to share a meal with someone was something that was personal and intimate. The scribes and Pharisees were shocked that Jesus welcomed tax collectors and sinners to be with Him and to share meals with Him. St. Luke tells us that tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to Jesus so that they might listen to His teaching. What an amazing experience it must have been for those sinners to then receive an invitation to share a meal with Jesus! The Good News was true! God does love the world so much He wants to give us His Son! Jesus was sent, not to judge or condemn the world, but to save it! When you and I draw near to Jesus, when we welcome Him into our hearts and lives, when we allow Jesus to love on us, we too have that same experience: He sets us free from all the judgments and negative words spoken against us by others or even by ourselves. He loves us and wants us to know and love His Father!

FREEDOM FROM A POOR/INADEQUATE IMAGE OF OUR FATHER

Because our world has been broken by rebellion and sin, a rejection of our Father’s plan, so many of us have been wounded by a broken experience of family or by broken relationships. This may lead to a poor image of our FATHER in heaven. This inadequate image of our FATHER leads to about 90% of our suffering. You see, things do go wrong, bad things do happen. But, instead of running into our FATHER’S loving embrace and seeking His help, we turn our backs and run away, trying to solve our own problems. The remedy is Jesus. Jesus, and Jesus alone can reveal to us who our FATHER is. The parable of the Prodigal Son is a wealth of revelation about our FATHER. A prayerful reading of Chapter 15 of St. Luke’s Gospel would bear much fruit in helping us fall in love with our FATHER. Through that parable, Jesus reveals to us that: our FATHER is Good. He created us to share His inheritance with us, His eternal and blessed life! Even when we offend our FATHER and break His heart by turning our backs to Him and distancing ourselves, He awaits our return. When we do turn towards Him, He runs to us. He embraces us. He has compassion on us! He then restores our dignity and His beloved sons and daughters.

FREEDOM FROM JUDGING OTHERS

To fall in love with Jesus, to make the decision to follow Him, allows the Holy Spirit to bring about a radical transformation in our lives, and how we live them. We become a New Creation, and the Spirit of this New Creation is one of having the same heart as our FATHER. As our FATHER longs for His children to be reconciled to Him and to His family, so we too, His children become ambassadors of mercy and reconciliation. Once you have your FATHER’S heart, He won’t let you sit on your judgment seat passing judgment about His children. Just as He has shown you mercy, He wants to show them mercy. And, He has chosen you to be a messenger and instrument of this mercy and reconciliation in the lives of others!

Lord, let this Lenten time be an opportunity to surrender completely to you. Grant us the courage and willingness to be open and honest with you and may we remember to keep each other in prayer.

Fr. Michael