The Boundless Mercy of God

11-20-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

I thank all who have listened to the appeal I made with the help of our Parish Finance Committee and trustees concerning our financial situation as the Parish of St. Patrick the past three Sundays. Your response has been very encouraging and inspiring. I thank you for thinking about your contributions and whatever you are able to give financially. As we share our time, talents, and resources together we continue to nurture the faith of one another, offer hope to one another, and grow in our love for God and one another. In other words we are the Church. How blessed we are for and with one another.

This coming Thursday we will celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving as a nation. In 1620 the pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England and landed in Massachusetts. They were a determined group of people seeking a new land and the opportunity to live their religion without government interference. Throughout our national history key people were determined to establish a unique nation. That dream became a reality with the Declaration of Independence and victory in the Revolutionary War. We are known for our freedom and power to elect our leaders. Two hundred forty-six years since July 4, 1776 we are still a work in progress.

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. As Catholics we have the ultimate freedom, privilege, and gift - living as the children of God. As much as the Pilgrims were a determined group of people, our God is the ultimate source, power, and determination. As we read the Old Testament we see God promising redemption and forgiveness as soon as the Original Sin has been committed. In Genesis 3:15 God promises to rectify the sin of Adam and Eve when they gave in to the devil’s temptation to try to be like God as He says to the devil: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” We see God’s determination as He sent many prophets to call us to repentance and to live as His people in complete union with Him and one another. Over and over again as much as the prophets proclaimed God’s wisdom and love, we see that love in His desire to fill us with His hope by enriching and enlivening us with His mercy and forgiveness. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 23:35-43) we hear the words we all long to hear as we leave this world: “This day you will be with me in paradise.” Those are the words of Jesus in His final, agonizing, unjust hours on the cross to the “good thief” who sincerely asked to be forgiven. Already He rose above sin, the sin of a criminal who acknowledged he was being crucified for his crime. No one is ever too late or too insignificant to receive the merciful love of God. Every time we come to Mass we acknowledge our sinfulness and God’s mercy in the Penitential Rite. In a very brief moment we acknowledge the goodness and forgiveness of God and go on to give thanks and be renewed once again by His love throughout the Mass. How determined are we to live our faith every day? The key is to recognize our need for God’s mercy and, even more, His desire to shower it upon us. The words of St. Peter are our words in Luke 5:8: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Once Peter realized Jesus knew Him and loved Him His words in John 21:17 become our words: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” May we hear and take Jesus’ words to heart that He said to Peter at the end of John 21:17: “Feed my sheep.” Taking the boundless mercy of God to heart we become His mercy. Expressing our love for Him we become His love. 

I offer these verses and prayer from Psalm 27 for your prayerful reflection.

O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken:
"Seek his face."

It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
hide not your face.
Dismiss not your servant in anger;
you have been my help.

Do not abandon or forsake me, O God my help! Though father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.

Instruct me, Lord, in your way;
on an even path lead me.
When they lie in ambush,
protect me from my enemy's greed.
False witnesses rise against me,
breathing out fury.

I am sure I shall see the Lord's goodness
in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.

Psalm Prayer: Father, you protect and strengthen those who hope in you; you heard the cry of your Son and kept him safe in your tent in the day of evil. Grant that your servants who seek your face in time of trouble may see your goodness in the land of the living. Amen.