Today we also celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II. Today will be his 100th birthday. And obviously in these past days, I’ve been thinking about a lot about him praying for his intercession.1
St. John Paul II reminded us that the reason for our lives is to know Jesus and to love him. And to share his life with us. He was a wonderful example for all of us on holiness in the 20th century.
And actually Pope Francis celebrated Mass today in the tomb of St. John Paul II. Pope Francis was saying that John Paul II was a “man of prayer, close to the people, and also a man of merciful justice.”
Obviously, we have beautiful memories — in many ways — of St. John Paul II, but especially here in Los Angeles when he came in 1987.
So I was thinking of St. John Paul II and I was also thinking of St. Mother Teresa, that this week we are especially asking her intercession for everyone who are suffering, one way or another, as a consequence of the pandemic.
So, I was thinking of the intercession of the saints — the coming of the saints and obviously here at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels we have the tapestries that remind us of the communion of the saints. So many saints who have given us wonderful examples of how to be a good Catholic, a good Christian, and also, they intercede for us in heaven.
So I was thinking that Jesus is always with us — he does not leave us orphans. Through the intercession of so many saints, God is always close to us in a beautiful way. And that’s exactly what we see in the readings of these days from the Acts of the Apostles.
How the apostles, they work together and they were supporting each other. And I think for all of us, during this challenging time, we have to feel that closeness with one another and especially with God and with the saints.
Our Father in heaven is always very close to all of us. And at the same time that Jesus is calling us to love one another and to know that nothing will ever separate us from his love. We are in this challenging situation together and we are stronger together, we are better together.
So let us especially, as we remember St. John Paul II and St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, that the saints in heaven are interceding for us and that we can trust always in their intercession.
So I was saying it’s also what we see in the Acts of the Apostles. The apostles just went out to preach the Gospel. It was difficult sometimes for people to listen to them. Today, we hear about the beautiful passage of the conversion of Lydia. She listened, she opened her heart and actually she also opened her household. She invited the disciples to stay with her.
We see how God is calling people through us, in an ordinary way. And in the passage of the Gospel, we can see once again the action of the Holy Spirit. As you know, for me, it’s beautiful to see how the Holy Spirit was always there helping them. And it is the Spirit of Truth, as Jesus says in today’s passage of the Gospel:
The Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father
He will testify to me
And you also testify.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, once again, we remember our call to be missionaries. And our mission, as we know, is simple — it is to be witness of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In simple things — just making a phone call, listening to somebody, praying for somebody as we are doing right now. So that’s what our call to be missionaries means in our daily lives.
So, today, let us especially feel the closeness of the saints — St. John Paul II, and St. Mother Teresa. And let us renew our commitment to the call to be missionary disciples — witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us ask, especially for the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.
1. Readings: Acts 16:11-15; Ps. 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a, 9b; John 15:25-16:4a.