God, who is perfect and loves us unconditionally, offers us mercy all the time—and expects us to do the same for others.
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The Good News is certainly good, but it isn’t easy. Our mission—and our faith is fruitless without mission—brings us joy and also brings challenge. We are given comfort along the way, particularly when things seem their bleakest.
The readings for the Feast of Corpus Christi connect the Eucharist to service. This is no accident—there is an absolute connection between what we receive and what we live.
This Sunday’s readings are all about Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb, as well as the Good Shepherd who leads us to eternal life.
As the apostles continued to preach the Gospel, they went first to the Jewish people, because the Jewish people are God’s chosen—God spoke through them and to them first, and it was through the Jewish people that we got “Jesus people” (remember, Jesus was Jewish and so was pretty much everyone who hung out with him).
Throughout the Easter Season, our first reading comes from the Acts of the Apostles instead of the Hebrew Scriptures because it tells the story of the first Christian Community—the continuation of the story of the Resurrection. Because, our story doesn’t end with the Resurrection, but only just begins.
Today begins Holy Week—the most solemn and important week of our liturgical year. It is the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the entrance of the Church into the Paschal Mystery. We have two Gospels that express two natures of our relationship with God.
God made his work the work of reconciliation, and made it our work, too. Having been forgiven ourselves, we are ambassadors, given the mission of bringing God’s reconciliation to a world very much in need of it.
Today’s first reading from the prophet Baruch offers the image of Israel who had been led off in slavery being returned to their homeland in security, making the path easier for us, and “…God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.”
In the second reading, Paul prays for us that our “…love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value.”
And in the Gospel, Luke recalls a passage from the prophet Isaiah, similar to Baruch, which invites us to prepare the way of the Lord. In our preparation, God will remove the obstacles that would prevent us from being with God— “Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Here is the point: When we make an effort to invite Jesus into our hearts, God begins to remove anything that would stand between us and God. God wants to be close with every one of us—God is always there, waiting for us to turn to him. When we do—when we seek to become what God dreams for us to be—God helps us in every way to get there.