Divine Mercy Sunday

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!

The Resurrection of Jesus has brought us freedom. Our commemoration of this glorious event ratifies the fidelity of God’s love for all His creatures. Easter reminds us that God has re-created us and made us new. As the seventh reading of the Easter Vigil from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel says, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.” (Ez 36:25-27)

As God recreated us in history, today it is our choice to make that history a reality. Our decisions play an important role so that we may truly experience a more profound meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do not simply commemorate an event; rather, we ought to live a reality where God continues to be involved in the daily affairs of our life. Our experience of freedom from sin and our liberation from the oppressive power of death should allow us to be messengers of hope to others. Yet are we truly conscious of these realities? Is our profession of faith real enough so that we can personally acclaim our encounter with the resurrected Christ?

For, after all, Sacred Scriptures tells us that the different encounters of the first disciples with the resurrected Jesus at the Garden tomb, in Galilee, on the Road to Emmaus and in the Upper Room provided for them the real meaning of their existence as human beings and as disciples of Jesus Christ. Thus, our encounter with Jesus in the workplace, along the streets, in our parish community as well as in our families should also generate in us a faith with flesh and bone and not simply an empty profession of the paschal mystery that is often meaningless to some who participate in our Catholic rituals.

The renewal of our heart in reference to the Resurrection should allow us to experience the real meaning of freedom. This concept of freedom is not an understanding of being able to exercise our wishes freely and to act on them irresponsibly. In fact, the freedom that is brought to us by Jesus’ Resurrection is about letting go. It is the letting go of one’s self-centeredness, the letting go of one’s jealousy, the letting go of being in control of everything in our lives, the letting go of the occasions that ushers us to be far away from God, the letting go of clinging to one’s painful memories, the letting go of one’s pretentions in life that are totally derailed from being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Is there anything else that prevents us from experiencing the freedom that is brought by the Resurrection of Jesus?

Finally, please know that I am grateful to everyone who took part in preparing our liturgical events of worship during Holy Week. For those who generously offered their time and their energy to prepare our worship space, for the young people and their parents who cleaned the church, for the team who decorated the sanctuary, for our parish staff who coordinated so many the odds and ends of our parish life, and for our dedicated volunteers of the re-opening team and their subcommittees… I am so grateful to God for all of you.  My encounter with the Resurrected Jesus happened already prior to our Easter commemoration. I am blessed as your pastor to see the movement of the Holy Spirit in our community through your presence and collaboration. You as members of our parish are messengers of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus. Our Sunday gathering truly exemplifies the Divine Presence each time we are gathered for the Breaking of the Bread. Believe firmly in what you profess and allow yourself to be the living message that Jesus is Risen, indeed!

Once again, Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen! I shall see you soon.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,