The Fifth Sunday of Lent
'Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.' —Joel 2:12-13
Jesus reveals the mind and heart of the Father, who is love and mercy. Although we turn away from Him by sinning; however, God remains faithful, forgiving, and challenges us to be even more compassionate. Instead of condemning us, He offers to pay our debt by nailing our sins to the cross. His precious blood washes away our sins and empowers us to seek His Saving Mercy to redeem others. Are you willing to console sinners and challenge them to repent by offering your blood, sweat, and tears?
The prophet Isaiah warns us not to dwell on our past sins but seek God’s mercy and healing. Dwelling on our past sins leads us to despair. Worrying that we will fail again leads us to play God. Living and loving in the presence of the Risen Christ offers us hope for healing and holiness. Like Jesus, we must die daily to sin and rise to grow in reverence for God, respect for the sacredness of all life, and take responsibility to help others. Saint Paul, who persecuted Christians, witnessed that conversion is a total gift of God’s mercy.
The scribes and Pharisees test Jesus by bringing a woman caught in adultery before Him. Jesus tells them that the one without sin can cast the first stone. It is always easier to find fault with others rather than examine our conscience to see whether we imitate Jesus or the devil. The evil one chose to live a life without God. Since the devil cannot harm God, he tempts us to destroy our desire for life, liberty, and the pursuit of holiness and happiness in Christ.
Our loving and merciful Father waits for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He embraces us as His precious child and challenges us to discipline our lives and forgive and treat others with kindness. Disease kills the body! Dementia confuses the mind! Bitterness destroys the soul! Forgiveness restores our intellect and free will!
Are you willing to accept the invitation to seek the peace and joy of our Risen Lord?
This Tuesday at SMM from 7 to 8:30 PM, seven priests will offer you the peace and joy of reconciling with God for yourself and others.