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“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” We are celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy during the year of Mercy. Pope Francis describes Jesus as the “Face of Mercy.” He shows us the merciful face of God the Father.
The first thing Jesus says after risign from the dead is, “Peace be with You.” We all know people who lack peace because of Guilt, fear, worries, uncertainties. Jesus is the mercy of the Father who forgives our guilt, sets us free from our fears and worries, He sheds light on our uncertainties. In our Gospel, Jesus calls each and everyone of us to continue his mission of mercy. To bring peace to hearts, to our world. To continue the mission Jesus received from his Father. As baptized Christians, every single one of us is called to evangelize. A word that means to “share the good news.” The good news is the good news of God’s mercy. No matter how great our guilt is, God is here to forgive us, to save us, to transform us.
Sometimes we can be afraid and intimidated to share this message with our world. The world is not always very merciful with Christians. We don’t want to appear to be fanatics or extremists. Sometimes we are discouraged, we don’t think we are able to do what Jesus calls us to do – because we are not holy enough, smart enough, or not a very good speaker. “How can I speak about Jesus as the sinner I am?”
Yet, the world we live in is not worst than the world of the apostles – remember they are in the upper room hiding because they fear they might be crucified like Jesus. Our society has not reached that point. It is true the people we would love to share the good news with are stubborn. Yet, God does not give up on them, so neither should we. The scriptures are filled with people who are called by God to share His message and say, “I can’t do it”. Moses said he was not a good enough speaker. Jeremiah said that he was too young. Peter said he was a sinner. God said “Yes, you can do it. I will be with you. Go and do it!” After calling them, Jesus gives His disciples the Holy Spirit – he gives us strength and power to carry out the plan he asks us to complete.
Yet, I believe the greatest Challenge we have as Catholics is that we do love Jesus, we have experienced His peace and we want to share that with others, but we don’t know how. “What am I supposed to say?” Do we preach on the sidewalk, or witness by our actions? Do we go door to door or focus on our friends and family members? When someone asks a question, how should I respond? In Lent, Patrick Sullivan visited our parish. His topic was “How to be an evangelist.” Patrick gave us some simple and practical examples of what we can do. He wrote a book “Dare to be an Evangelist” This book is a series of dares – challenges, things we can do to share Christ’s peace with others, to show forth his mercy.
Over the next four weeks, during the easter season, in my preaching, we are going to speak about HOW we can evangelize – based on the suggestions given by Patrick in his book. I encourage you to buy the book and try to live out the challenges a day at a time – I also will be trying to put it into practice. I cannot promise that all of them will be easy, but I think that there is a great wisdom in his suggestions. We want our parish to be a place of mission, a place where parishioners are equipped to share their faith with friends, family and co-workers. As we hear in the Acts of the Apostles, “More than ever, believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of men and women…” I believe that it is possible that many believers can be added to the Lord here in Oakville, great numbers of men and women
“Peace be with you. Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us peace, because we have experienced His mercy. So many lack peace, because they do not know the merciful heart of Christ. During this year of mercy let us show forth the merciful face of the Father. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”