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4/8/18 Divine Mercy Sunday - Fr. Reggie

Most of us are happy to have Jesus be our Savior. After all, every one of us suffers in this life, and Jesus, through his own suffering on the cross, has given us hope that our sufferings can draw us closer to God, can have meaning. And also, every one of us will someday have to face death. And Jesus has conquered death, so we know that if we die in friendship with him (if we let him be our Savior), we will share everlasting life and eternal happiness with him. This is why most of us are happy to have Jesus be our Savior.

But there's a catch.

Jesus is not just a Savior, he is also a Lord.

We cannot have Jesus be our Savior unless we are also willing to have him as our Lord.

And that's not always so pleasant.

We get something from a Savior, but we give something to a Lord. We give him our obedience, our service, our loyalty, and even our very lives. The good thing about Jesus is that he is a Lord who is also a Savior. Therefore, we know that if we are faithful to him as Lordhe will be faithful to us as well, leading us to the fulfillment we long for.

But in our day-to-day lives, it's not always easy to follow and obey. Sometimes it's easier to simply go with the flow of what everyone else is doing. Sometimes being a faithful Catholic is an uncomfortable thing; it sets us apart; it tweaks other peoples' consciences. And yet, that is our task as Christians, to be faithful to Christ and his Church.

St John makes this crystal clear in today's Second Reading: "For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments."

When we find it hard to accept what God permits in our lives, usually it's because we have forgotten that he is both Lord and Savior.

When it's hard for us to obey Church teaching or to follow God's will, it's usually for the same reason.

The story is told of a huge atomic energy plant that was malfunctioning. None of the plant's engineers and scientists could figure out the cause of the trouble. Finally, an eminent professor in the field was summoned from his university for consultation. The professor surveyed the situation and then asked for a hammer. He took the hammer in hand, walked over to a pipe and struck it a heavy blow. Immediately, the plant began functioning again: everything was back in working order. Later, he submitted an itemized bill for his services in the amount of $5,005. It read as follows: "for striking the blow, $5; for knowing where to strike the blow, $5000." The engineers wanted to save the plant from destruction, but they didn't have the knowledge or the power to do so. The professor had the knowledge and the power, but he needed the engineers to call him in.

Christ is both the engineer and the professor.

He wants our lives to flourish with lasting happiness, wisdom, and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

And he also knows how to make that happen.

And so, whatever God asks of us or sends us, no matter how hard it may be, flows from both his love as our Savior and his power as our Lord.

For us, it's usually harder to let Christ be our Lord than it is to let him be our Savior. But for many people around us, who don't know Jesus in a personal way, the contrary is often the case. They see Christ as a demanding Lord, but they don't realize that he is also a merciful Savior. But until they experience the Savior's mercy and goodness, they will never find the courage to follow Christ the Lord, and find the happiness and meaning they long for.

This is why Christ left us the commandment to love our neighbor as he has loved us.

He wants us to be mirrors of his goodness, so that through us people will discover his goodness and mercy. The first Christian community understood this, as today's First Reading shows: "The community of believers was of one heart and one mind... There was no needy person among them." The distinctive sign of the Christian was the self-forgetful love that united all believers. That should be our distinctive sign too.

Every single day, in our families, at school, at work - we have an opportunity to be a mirror of God's goodness: when we sit down next to the person who's having lunch alone because no one likes them; when we comfort the relative or neighbor who is suffering; when we make the effort to listen compassionately and carefully instead of impatiently tuning out... These are simple ways we have of giving God's light a chance to shine into shadowy hearts.

As Jesus, our Lord and Savior, comes to renew his commitment to us in this Eucharist, let's ask him to polish up the mirror of our soul.

And let's promise that this week we will do our part to spread the saving light of his mercy.



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