Bishop’s Letter: Trust God will offer us compassion and mercy

Mar 6, 2024
Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Jan. 19. Bishop John Noonan as celebrant. (KIMBERLEY ARGÜELLO)

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

We are at the midpoint of our Lenten journey and God, through His many messengers, guides us on the right path. By our participation in the Sacrament of Baptism, we become His messengers, and it is we who are leading each other to God.

On the First Sunday of Lent, I met more than 600 catechumens, men, women and children of all ages, who were introduced to God by one or more of you, His messengers, and by your faith, led these beautiful people of God to journey toward the Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion at the Easter Vigil.

Through all of Scripture this holy season of Lent, God calls us to Him. He asks us to remember the essential gift of His love and to seek Him that we might bring His everlasting gift to one another. Pope Francis, in his homily on Ash Wednesday, suggests that we are called to return to the heart, to journey from without to within, “so that our whole life, including our relationship with God, is not reduced to mere outward show, a frame without a picture, a dropping of the soul, but is born from within and reflects the movements of our heart, our deepest desires, our thoughts, our feelings, the very core of our person.” We set ourselves on a path of holiness, knowing how to proclaim and bear witness to Jesus.

Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by sinfulness. When Cyrus, the king of Persia, a foreign king from east of Mesopotamia, came into power, he calls to build God a house in Jerusalem, to return to God. We, too, see the importance of building and consecrating holy places that we might praise and worship God and receive Him in the Eucharist.

We are called this Lenten season and all seasons of all times to repentance and conversion, trusting that God will offer us compassion and mercy. God faithfully maintains the Covenant forged with us despite our unfaithfulness. The buildings that we build are symbols, too, of who we are called to be — temples of God. Our Holy Father admonishes, “When we have the courage to bow our heads in order to look within, we will discover the presence of God who loves us and has always loved us — with an eternal love.”

As we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we acknowledge the Covenant into which we are created and are compelled by His divine love, to see each other as our brother or sister wherever and whenever we encounter them and to love them. How do we as a dwelling place of God, a sacred temple, love? Pope Francis suggests that we be “considerate to others, to feel compassion, to show mercy, to share all that we are and all that we have with those in need.” Each one of us is different in his/her daily living and these loving encounters of our brothers and sisters will lay the foundation for our holy temples. We can only love as God asks of us if we open our heart to see and hear and touch God within the people He gifts to us.

Jesus calls us to be His body on this earth; to live as His holy temple. How beautiful is the One who became flesh and walked among us on this earth and now greets us once again as His beautiful body, His dwelling place, the sacred Temple of Jerusalem. We are His messengers called to be the Eucharist to one another. We are His messengers to bring everyone to become His dwelling place — to breathe in and emanate holiness. When we become one as His body, we will know heaven on earth.

March 07, 2024