Sunday, May 12, 2013

Witnesses of Divine Tenderness

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

 As our Lord ascends into heaven in order to be seated at the right hand of God “far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but in the age to come,” he tells his disciples: “You are my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  His disciples are to testify that in fulfillment of the Scriptures, the Christ suffered and rose from the dead and now, repentance for the forgiveness of sins is to be preached to all nations. In other words, the disciples are witnesses of the tenderness of God whose mercy was revealed in the incarnation and in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus his Son. God calls all to hope and not to despair. The message that we, his disciples, bear is that of love and mercy. Pope Francis tweeted: Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she bears witness to God’s love. Be witnesses of God’s tenderness.

In order to make us witnesses of Divine tenderness and love, the Lord promises to send the Holy Spirit whom he calls “Power from on high.” This promised Power is unlike the power that the world uses to dominate and to oppress. Rather, this Power is one that uplifts through forgiveness. This Power from on high is the Power of Love. The Holy Spirit is the Love of God poured into our hearts. Thus, the disciples are told to wait for the Holy Spirit to come down. They are not to leave Jerusalem until they are clothed by Power from on high. How can they bear witness to Divine love and tenderness unless they themselves experience it? How can they speak of forgiveness of sins unless they themselves be forgiven? When they receive the Holy Spirit, their sins will be forgiven. Then will they be convinced that they are loved even in spite of their sins. Then they will be convinced that God is a tender and loving God.

This is the Power by which all things will be put beneath the feet of Christ. It will be a dominion of love. It will seek to establish in the world a culture of mercy. Even as he sits at the right hand of the Father, Jesus continues to be the servant who will not break a reed or put off a smoldering wick. The humility that he manifested during Holy Week continues to be his even until now. By this humility, his mercy becomes an invitation to all to repentance. And people will come to him for they will be attracted by his gentleness and mercy. We look at him and we realize that we have mistakenly desired the wrong power that dominates and oppresses. We realize that there is an even superior power – the power that loves and forgives. This is the power that builds. This is the power that truly lasts forever. And his kingdom will have no end.

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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