by Fr Joachim Robert
As we come once again to celebrate this Healing Mass and also to celebrate our Pentecost Celebration, it has been almost two years that we have not been able to have this prolonged celebration. And the theme that we have chosen for ourselves this year is:-
Holy Spirit, teach us to love again.
And the focus that we have taken for the parish is Hope, Restore, Prayer and Care.
And today, dear friends, so beautifully we look at the image that is given in the Gospel, an image of a woman who is in labour and in pain but after the child has been born, she forgets about the pain but is joyful because a child has been born. And we too, dear friends, especially during this time of pandemic, there has been so many areas of life that we have been in pain, that we have suffered and so many struggles that came along the way. Whether we are young, whether we are old, rich or poor, healthy or sick, all of us have some struggles that we have endured.
And sometimes, dear friends, we feel crushed with worries/anxiety that force us to lead us to question ourselves and lead us to depression. And sometimes, dear friends, that experience can be painful and hurting.
And one of the experiences that sometimes you may encounter is while you are driving and driving and driving, you feel a sense of burden that comes and overwhelms you where you weep, cry and cry and cry. Or perhaps you are in a corner of a room, shut your door in all the darkness that is there, not wanting to come out of that situation. And I am sure, dear friends, every one of us have undergone the same pain that the mother would have gone through.
And as a community as well, and as families, as individuals, we suffer from our wounds, the hurt of relationship, of misunderstanding, the burdens of finances, where we are accused wrongly, we are often misunderstood and everything that we do does not seem to have any hope. But in those moments, dear friends, the Lord comes into our life and shares His love for us. Because in this moment, He allows the invasion of His love and mercy to transform us and mold us and restore our hope in Him. And we need to remember, dear friends, that those moments are also stepping stones for us to embrace the love the Father has for us. And we can never doubt the love of the Father that he has for us.
And you and I, dear friends, as we look at the cross and contemplate on the mystery of the cross, acknowledging the love that the Father has for us, we must remember that we have been hurt, we have been wounded. But in those moments and those wounds, the Lord lifts us up. The Lord lifts us up because He loves us.
In Psalm 139, He says, “Each one of us are beautifully and wonderfully made.”
In our Gospel today, we are reminded:-
You are sad now but I shall see you again and your hearts will be full of joy.
From those moments, dear friends, the Lord lifts us up, gives us and restores our hope in Him by the way we relate to one another. And if we have opened our hearts to receive the love and the mercy of God, we can and ought to do the same towards our brothers and sisters. And the Gospel Acclamation today reminds us:-
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said.
Each one of us, dear friends, by the virtue of our baptism, have received the love that the Father has for us because He has lavished that love upon us. But are we able to embrace and acknowledge the love that God has given to us in the way we treat our brothers and sisters? And the path that Jesus has given to us is a path of love. And the path of love which demands sacrifices, the path of love that demands us that we die to ourselves and allow God to rise in every aspect of our lives. Because love is painful, love is difficult, in the same way of how that mother experiences the pain of childbirth. But that pain, dear friends, is only temporary if we fix our gaze on Jesus.
If we allow the love and the mercy of God to transform, mold and shape our lives, then we have all the reasons to live our life with gratitude, with thanksgiving and with so much of freedom. And sometimes, dear friends, we may come to situations that have burdened us. And sometimes the burden that we carry can be of our own doing, sometimes can be for the people around us. And for those of us who possibly may be impatient, when we lose our temper, we anger the people, we are irritable because of what people have done for us. In those situations, dear friends, we are called to love even though it is difficult.
And we need to remember if we are able to be sensitive towards one another, to utter words of encouragement, to utter words of comfort, to utter words of consolation and fill the gap in areas that they may lack, then we are truly exercising the love and the mercy of God.
And we need to be reminded, dear friends that whatever situations of life that we are going through, some of us may have it worse than us. Some of us may have it easy but we need to remember that we need to have this culture of praying and caring for one another because if we do not do that difference we are not allowing ourselves to be channels of God’s grace to become the agent of love and mercy. If the Father has loved us to that extent even each time we fall, even like the prodigal son, even he has squandered all the money that he had, but the Father welcomes him back even though with his own woundedness, even though in his own brokenness.
And we are able to acknowledge the brokenness of our lives. We are able to acknowldge the littleness and how shattered our lives can be. We will be able, with a heart of gratitude, show that love and mercy towards one another.
And today we pray, dear friends, as we enter into this time of preparing ourselves for Pentecost celebration, we pray for ourselves, we pray for our families, we pray for our community, we pray for the church, that each one of us may be able to fill the gap in the areas that people are not able to sustain. In areas that they lack, we fill up. In areas that they are short, we let them rise.
And because of the awareness of God’s love, we become aware of what we need to do. Because our heart will be filled with compassion and love towards our brothers and sisters.
So as we begin this journey, dear friends, this journey of restoring our hope, praying and caring, we ask the grace of the Holy Spirit to empower us, to teach us to love again because we have been loved first. And let us be the channel of God’s love to one another, in love.
So, dear friends, later as we will be having the ministering later, and as we celebrate this Eucharist, I ask you to bring your burdens to the Lord, bring your burdens of the areas of difficulties where we have been impatient, where we have been neglecting, the areas of our life that we need healing, we ask each and every one of you to bring that burden of your heart to the table of the Lord and ask the Lord to transform, mold, shape us more and more into the image of His love.
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