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Dear Friends,
I continue with Pope Francis’ homily for a Mass celebrated on June 25, during his recent visit to Armenia. You will recall that the subject of his homily was the building and rebuilding of the Christian life and the Holy Father proposed three stable foundations for that rebuilding: (1) memory, (2) faith, and the third thing he speaks about in the conclusion of his homily, merciful love. Below are his words.

“The third foundation, after memory and faith, is merciful love: on this rock, the rock of the love we receive from God and offer to our neighbor, the life of the disciple of Jesus is based. In the exercise of charity, the Church’s face is rejuvenated and made beautiful. Concrete love is the Christian’s visiting card; any other way of presenting ourselves could be misleading and even unhelpful, for it is by our love for one another that everyone will know that we are his disciples (cf John 13:35). We are called above all to build and rebuild paths of communion, tirelessly creating bridges of unity and working to overcome our divisions. May believers always set an example, cooperating with one another in mutual respect and a spirit of dialogue, knowing that “the only rivalry possible among the Lord’s disciples is to see who can offer the greater love” (John Paul II, Homily, 27 September, 2001).

In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that the Spirit of the Lord is always with those who carry glad tidings to the poor, who bind up the brokenhearted and console the afflicted (cf Isaiah 61: 1-2). God dwells in the hearts of those who love him. God dwells wherever there is love, shown especially by courageous and compassionate care for the weak and the poor. How much we need this! We need Christians who do not allow themselves to be overcome by weariness or discouraged by adversity, but instead are available, open and ready to serve. We need men and women of good will, who help their brothers and sisters in need, with actions and not merely words. We need societies of greater justice, where each individual can lead a dignified life and, above all, be fairly remunerated for his or her work.

All the same, we might ask ourselves: how can we become merciful, with all the faults and failings that we see within ourselves and all about us? I would like to appeal to one concrete example, a great herald of divine mercy, one to whom I wished to draw greater attention by making him a Doctor of the Universal Church: Saint Gregory of Narek, word and voice of Armenia. It is hard to find his equal in the ability to plumb the depths of mercy lodged in the human heart. Yet he always balanced human weakness with God’s mercy, lifting up a heartfelt and tearful prayer of trust in the Lord who is “giver of gifts, root of goodness…voice of consolation, news of comfort, joyful impulse… unparalleled compassion, inexhaustible mercy… the kiss of salvation” (Lamentations 3:1). He was certain that the light of God’s mercy is never clouded by the shadow of indignation. Gregory of Narek is a master of life, for he teaches us that the most important thing is to recognize that we are in need of mercy. Despite our own failings and the injuries done to us, we must not become self-centered but open our hearts to sincerity and trust to the Lord, to the God who is ever near, loving and good, filled with love for mankind… a fire consuming the chaff of sin.

In the words of Saint Gregory, I would like now to invoke God’s mercy and his gifts of unfailing love: “Holy Spirit, powerful protector, intercessor and peace-maker, we lift our prayers to you… Grant us the grace to support one another in charity and good works… Spirit of sweetness, compassion, loving kindness and mercy… You who are mercy itself… Have mercy on us.” Pope Francis

God Bless,
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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