Reflections - December 13, 2015

“And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none.  And whoever has food should do likewise.”  Lk. 3:10.
In today’s Gospel the crowd asks John a very good question.  “What then should we do to change our lives?  I feel that John’s response is very valid to you and me:  “Take faith seriously”.  We are sometimes a very poor image of God and in other times, a mere caricature.
In the Jubilee of The Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, it would serve us well to reflect that we are unfinished caricatures with greatness, but also wounded by sin and in need of faith, forgiveness, and mercy.  How can I take faith seriously?  We must change “the heart”:  “My strength and my courage is the Lord”.  Is. 12:2.
For this reason Jesus came.  He brought us a “baptism through the Holy Spirit”, that will transform our human nature and will let us participate in His Divine Nature.  2 Pt. 1:4.
Only when we experience God’s love is when we feel loved and we change.  It is the best therapy for any disease of the body and of the soul.  As Pope Francis says:  “He comes to save us from the weakened condition in which we live.  When we are touched by His compassion through the sacraments, in particular Confession, we too will be compassionate towards others”.
So what must we do to be compassionate?  In this Year of Mercy, the Lord invites us to practice the fourteen Works of Mercy, the seven Corporal Works of Mercy and the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy.  The foundation for all fourteen Works of Mercy is to love God and to love our neighbor.
An example of a Corporal Work of Mercy is:
“To feed the hungry”….. This is not difficult to find in our city.  There are more than 3000 Christmas dinners that are prepared to help the poor and there are people who sleep 2 and 3 days waiting to receive one according to the news reports.
Examples of  Spiritual Works of Mercy are:
To give good advice to those you need it, forgive injuries, comfort those who are sad…..  When you receive Communion ask the Lord in this Jubilee Year of Mercy:  What should I do to relieve and comfort my neighbor?