Homily ·Lent
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
March 21, 2016

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my brother priests,1

It is great to see all of you here this evening. We see such a beautiful reflection of the Church tonight.

This is what the Church is made to be — the family of God. Bishops and Priests and deacons; seminarians and religious; consecrated men and women; lay people from every walk of life. Young and old from every part of the world.

Somos el pueblo al que se refiere el Profeta Isaías en la primera lectura que acabamos de escuchar: “Cuantos los vean reconocerán que son la estirpe que bendijo el Señor”

We are the people the Lord has blessed!

So we give thanks to God. We’re coming together as the family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles this evening.

And as we know, in a moment our brother priests will be making the solemn renewal of their priestly promises. And after that, we will have the procession and blessing of the holy oils.

These two rituals go together because in them we see revealed the fullness of the mystery of the Church. This is why I love this celebration so much.

The holy oils that we will bless are a sign of our Christian identity, a sign that we share in the anointing of Jesus Christ. Every one of us. What Jesus says in the Gospel tonight is true for every Christian: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me.”

Somos el pueblo que el Señor ha bendecido y ungido. Eso es lo que la palabra “Cristiano” significa, el que ha sido ungido. Todos lo sabemos, pero es muy bueno que cada año al celebrar la Misa Crismal, recordemos quienes somos para así renovar nuestra identidad Cristiana.

It is good for all of us every year in this Chrism Mass to remember who we are, to renew our identity as Christians.

And this is a special year. Because, as we all know, we are gathering tonight during the Holy Week of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. And so tonight we are called to reflect that we are anointed to be people of mercy.

Misericordia es nuestra identidad y nuestra misión como Cristianos Católicos, nuestra misión como Iglesia. Estamos llamados a proclamar la misericordia de Dios a cada persona. La promesa de salvación en el amor de Cristo Crucificado.

It seems to me that the idea of mercy is kind of fading away in our society, along with the idea of God. Sometimes when I listen to the political debates and the media, I feel like we are becoming a people of “no mercy.”

So my brothers and sisters, this is our duty as the Church, this is an important part of the new evangelization.

In our ministries, in our personal lives, we have to be a force of healing, reconciliation and mercy. We need to teach with our words, but even more by our example.

And as we know, each year in this Chrism Mass we remember how Jesus gave us the gift of the priesthood and the Eucharist at his Last Supper.

My dear brother priests, our priesthood is a sign of the Cross, a living reminder of the supreme act of God’s mercy. In your ministry, you are a sign that God’s mercy can still be found, that His heart is open to every single person.

As priests, we stand in the place of Jesus, in persona Christi. With his power, with his authority. What a gift and what a responsibility! Something we should reflect on every single day in our personal prayer.

Esta es nuestra identidad como sacerdotes, debemos ser el rostro de la Misericordia de Dios para el pueblo al que servimos.

And let me just say, once again, thank you for your life and for your ministry to the family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles! Thank you for your generosity and dedication in our parishes and ministries. Gracias por ser el rostro de la misericordia de Dios para el pueblo de Dios en Los Angeles. De todo corazón, muchas gracias!

Aren’t our bishops and priests great?

I know that many of you have read the book that Pope Francis published earlier this year, The Name of God is Mercy. Beautiful Book. I found this book to be a grace in my ministry, it is a quiet and profound reflection on what it means to be a priest.

And I was especially touched by what the Holy Father said about hearing confessions. Remember? He said: “When I heard confessions, I always thought about myself, about my own sins, and about my need for mercy, and so I tried to forgive a great deal.”2

We all know this feeling, my brothers. This is our experience, is it not? We know that as his priests, we have a special calling “to be with” Jesus. But we also know that that doesn’t mean that we’re special, perfect people.

We are sinners, we know that. But despite our limitations and weakness, God calls us — each one of us — to be signs and instruments of his mercy in the world. Again, what a beautiful gift and responsibility God gives us.

Que bello regalo y qué gran responsabilidad, ser instrumentos de la misericordia de Dios en el mundo a pesar de nuestras limitaciones y debilidades!

My dear brothers and sisters, this good news of God’s mercy needs to be the simple message of everything we say and do as priests. As we just heard in tonight’s second reading, the powerful testimony that Jesus “loves us and frees us from our sins by his blood.”

So tonight in this beautiful Eucharist, let us, all of us — priests and deacons, religious, seminarians and lay people, let us ask Jesus to open our hearts to let the mercy of God enter in. And tonight let us pray for the grace to be apostles of the mercy of God in our society.

Everything starts with us. We need to be merciful to others as God is merciful to us. Even if we just pick one person every day — one person we are going to be more understanding of, more patient with.

Tratemos de ser misericordiosos con todos, pero hagamos el propósito de vivirlo cada día, y al menos con una persona. Si así lo hacemos cambiaremos nuestra sociedad, cambiaremos la vida de tantas personas que, sin duda, se acercaran a Dios Misericordioso!

Our Blessed Mother Mary told us that God’s mercy is from age to age. So let us ask Our Blessed Mother, Mother of Mercy, to help us to have a new experience of God’s mercy in our own lives.

Pidamos a Maria Santísima, Madre de Misericordia, que nos ayude a ser ‘el rostro de la misericordia de Dios’ para nuestros hermanos y nuestras hermanas en el mundo de hoy.

1. Readings (Chrism Mass, Year C): Isa. 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9; Ps. 89:21-22, 25, 27; Rev. 1:5-8; Luke 4:16-21. 

2The Name Of God is Mercy, 28.

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