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Dear friends,
I conclude this week a summary of Pope Francis’ bull of indiction, The Face of Mercy, announcing the Jubilee of Mercy which began a week ago on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

After reminding us that God never tires of reaching out to us, always ready to listen, the Holy Father takes up the question of justice and mercy. Justice and mercy are not contradictory realities because, in Sacred Scripture, justice is understood essentially as faithful abandonment to God’s will. Faced with a vision of justice as the mere observance of the law that puts people into two groups – the just and the sinner- (as the Pharisees do), Jesus reveals the great gift of mercy that searches out sinners and offers them new life.

Jesus goes beyond the law and reveals mercy as a fundamental aspect of His mission. Pope Francis uses the example of St. Paul to illustrate this teaching. Paul pursued the justice of the law with extraordinary zeal. But Paul’s encounter with the Risen Christ turned his world upside down and he could write that no one is justified by the law. And his understanding of justice changes radically. Now he places faith first, not the law and justice. In His death and resurrection, Jesus brings salvation together with a mercy that justifies. God’s justice is His mercy.

If God limited himself to only justice, he would cease to be God and instead would be more like human beings. But God does not deny justice, he envelopes it and surpasses it with an even greater event in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice – and that event is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Cross of Christ is God’s judgment on all of us and on the whole world, because through it God offers us the certitude of his love.

The Jubilee also entails the granting of indulgences. God’s forgiveness knows no bounds and he never tires of forgiving us. We are called to perfection and yet we feel the heavy burden of sin. Despite being forgiven, the conflicting consequences of our sins remain. God forgives our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but sin always leaves a negative effect on the way we think and act. But the mercy of God is stronger and it becomes indulgence on the part of the Father who reaches out to the pardoned sinner, through the Church, freeing the sinner from every residue left by sin, enabling him/her to act with charity and to grow in love. Because we live within the communion of saints, we are bound to the blessed ones and whose holiness comes to the aid of our weakness in a way that enables the Church to fortify the weakness of some (sinners in this world) with the strength of others (saints in the next world). Hence, to gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ’s redemption. Let us live the Jubilee intensely, begging the Father to forgive our sins and to bathe us in his merciful indulgence.

The Holy Father concludes with the hope that Catholics will live out in their daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. The Father never tires of opening the doors of his heart and the Church needs to proclaim his mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of his mercy; she must witness to it, profess it and live it as the core of the revelation of Jesus Christ. From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid and love, ever patient in offering compassion and comfort.

Not a bad thought as we prepare for the great Feast of Christmas this Friday. Great blessings to all the members of our parish family and to those they love.

A Blessed Christmas,
Fr. Ron

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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