Bishop’s Letter: Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Apr 18, 2024

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Peace and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you this Easter season. St. Peter is filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and we join him, recalling our Baptism, the flow of anointed waters blessing us to bear good fruit for the glory of God’s creation. We praise God for His transfiguration of a barren earth into a flourishing garden with the life of humankind, made in the image of God and given dominion over all God’s creation.

St. Peter boldly proclaims to the people the core of our belief; that is, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Sometimes it is difficult to “let go and let God,” as one saying goes. By the flow of the waters of Baptism, we are called to be God’s coredeemers, not only speaking His Word, but actively living as Jesus calls us — to love one another as He loves us.

Our greatest success and distress originate with our understanding or lack of understanding about God’s creation: God created mankind in His image; “in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Gn 1:27). Knowing and understanding that we are of God changes the conversation for suddenly we are speaking about holiness; about a dwelling place for God and the dissonance between us seems to lift, as a prayer of healing.

Resolution of the dissonance in our daily living is often named, “justice.” Our Holy Father tenders that justice is the quintessential social virtue. It is the “moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor” (CCC 1807). He exhorts us, “Justice is a virtue for the good coexistence of people.”

Justice, offered through living the Gospel, establishes sincere relations with others. The righteous person is upright, simple, and straightforward, laid bare as Jesus was on the Cross. He or she does not wear masks or live with deception but speaks the truth. The words ‘thank you’ are offered because he/ she is indebted to neighbor. The righteous person understands that to love one another means to recognize always that he/she was loved first. He/she lives as a dwelling place of God and understands that each person is born of God. Jesus manifests the infinite love of God who overcomes every limit and every weakness.

Like St. Peter, we are called to be prophets of boldness and courage. In our world which is becoming increasingly
‘godless,’ we are called to bring God into every breath of the day. But we have become slack in our vigilance. It is someone else who is not doing something. If we are to be Communion to lead to participation to lead to mission,
then each person first steps toward Jerusalem as a Eucharist. This is a striking differential, for the community of faith cannot fall asleep, but is called to stay awake and be Christ to one another — for all the people we encounter each day and pray for those whom we do not encounter but know of their difficulties, suffering and isolation. It is not the responsibility of one, but the responsibility of all the baptized to proclaim the wonderful truths of salvation.

Soon, I will be greeting members of the Diocese of Orlando Council of Catholic Women at their upcoming annual conference. I pray with gratitude for these women who serve God. The Word of God is on their lips, the acts of their heart, the glory of their kindness to all His people for their faithfulness brings Jesus to so many. Rooted in the Eucharist, they are convinced that Jesus is the Holy One of God and by His commission, they join the first disciples with His message of hope and mercy, bound by a holy justice.

Jesus calls us from the Cross to come to Him. He assures us of His everlasting Presence as He is resurrected. He gifts us the nourishment of Himself through the Eucharist. Jesus never tires of us. May we never tire of Him! May we bring Him to one another and infuse the earth with His holy justice.