(Archbishop Gomez delivered this homily at the 14th Annual Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast, on September 18, 2018, with more than 3,500 people in attendance at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
As we begin this morning of prayer I want to take a moment to just remember two of our priests who passed away yesterday, Msgr. Royale Vadakin and Msgr. Jim Loughnane. Two faithful and dedicated priests who served the people of the Archdiocese for many years.
So, let us entrust them today to our Heavenly Father and ask that perpetual light shine upon them.
In our Gospel this morning, our Lord speaks words of consolation to a mother who has lost her only son. He says: “Do not weep.”
I think we need to hear these words in light of this summer of sorrow that we have been experiencing in the Church. And I know these events have been weighing heavy on all of us, and we feel especially the pain of the children who have been hurt.
So, today Jesus speaks these words of hope to those children — and to each one of us: “Do not weep.”
Jesus does not leave us alone in our pain, he does not abandon us in the trials that we face.
We see in this Gospel this morning, the true heart of Jesus, his solidarity with us in our suffering. The Gospel tells us that: “When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity.”
This is how it is with Jesus. This is who he is. Jesus sees us, and in his love for us, he is moved to compassion. He watches over us, always we are in his presence. And his love and mercy — bring us life and hope.
He speaks to that boy who has died and he says, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” And he sits up and he begins to speak.
My brothers and sisters, we need to believe again in the power of our Lord’s word, the power of his promise.
We need to go to Jesus, we need to open our hearts to his merciful love. There is no wound that Jesus will not heal; no sin, no matter how stubborn, no matter how hidden, that he will not forgive.
The Lord still sees us in this time of trial, and he is moved with pity.
And he calls each one of us to rise up and to speak — to give glory to God with our lives, to live with purity of purpose and integrity of heart.
Every time of crisis in the Church is a crisis of saints. It is a crisis of Christians not living out our baptismal promises, not striving for the greater things that we are made for.
St. Paul says in the first reading today: “Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.”
It is true! God wants to give us beautiful gifts. He has a beautiful plan for our lives!
We sell ourselves too short. We settle for so much less than what God is promising to us. We are made to be saints! This is the truth about who we are. We should accept nothing less for our lives.
So, brothers and sisters, this moment in the Church is a call for saints. It is a call for you and me — to arise and to become the men and women that we are created to be.
We are the ones who are called renew and rebuild the Church! Each one of us has that duty. And we do that by striving for the greater gifts that God wants to give us — the gifts of holiness and beauty and love and truth.
If we want a Church that is purified and centered on Jesus Christ and his mission — that Church begins with you and with me.
In the Gospel, we hear those touching words: “And Jesus gave him to his mother.”
Jesus has given all of us to his mother. What a beautiful gift. Let us us turn to her now and ask her to help us to rise to this moment and to be the saints we are called to be.
Our Lady, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
1. Readings (Tuesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time): 1 Cor. 12:12-14, 27-31 a; Luke 7:11-17.