My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Again, welcome to our Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels. It is a great joy to be with all of you today! And congratulations to all of you who are being honored today.
We are here to honor your service, to honor your witness to Jesus Christ. You are an inspiration to all of us. Congratulations.
As I said, we are still in the Lenten Season — time for a conversion, for a change of heart. A time of penance, purification.
And the reading of the Mass, as we go through this Lenten season, are very interesting. Today's are kind of long and not that easy to understand. But I was thinking of a couple of things that could be helpful for us today as we continue our journey during this Lenten Season.
The first is that God wants to be with us. And then the second is that we are called to a life of service that will give us real happiness.
You know, our life is called to be a beautiful life. It is a beautiful journey of joy and happiness and fun.
It is true that sometimes we go through different challenges in our lives and we have to work on making sure that we are doing the right thing — but it is a beautiful life.
In the first reading today, we heard the promise from the prophet Isaiah. A beautiful promise from God.
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
This is God talking to us! Talking to me and to you. To each one of us, personally.
And he is telling you that he loves you — with a deep love, with a tender love. He loves you like your parents love you.
So my dear brothers and sisters, the first reflection on today’s liturgy is that we need to trust God, trust that he loves us and always wants us to be happy.
And that’s what our Christian life is all about — God who loves each one of us personally. We should never forget that, in the good times and in the challenging times of our lives.
Then in the passage of the Gospel, we heard Jesus say:
My father is at work until now, so I am at work
Now, what is the work that Jesus is doing? Of course, it is the work of love. The work of serving God and other people.
When we read the Gospels, what we see is Jesus talking to people about the love of God. We see him curing the sick. We see him opening the eyes of the blind to see, and helping the disabled to walk, setting people free from sin.
Beautiful works of mercy. That is how Jesus lived. Walking around doing good for others.
And that is how he wants us to live!
Jesus wants each one of us to reach out to people who are suffering, people who are lonely, people who are sick, people who are poor. He wants all of us to serve other people, to help other people — just like he did.
That’s what is so beautiful to see in the example of Pope Francis. Going out just to look for people where they are. It is beautiful to see how the Pope is doing it, and that’s where, we like that, don’t we? We think, I mean we all think, Pope Francis is doing a great job, isn’t he? Good.
And that’s what we are all called to do.
And you know, this doesn’t mean we have to be totally specially people, absolutely perfect.
Jesus wants all of us to be totally normal. He wants us to walk with him. He wants you, all of us, to enjoy life. To have fun.
Even, you know, watching March Madness. I guess we all are praying for Notre Dame University, the basketball team. Well, let’s pray for them.
Or going to the happiest place on earth, you know, some of us were there at Anaheim this past weekend — Disneyland — unfortunately, we couldn’t go to any of the rides. We were at the Religious Education Congress, maybe next time.
God wants us to really enjoy life. Jesus wants to be with us. As I said before, God wants to be with us. And the life that God wants us to live, is a life of loving service. Because in that way, that’s the way that we are really going to find real happiness.
So today, let us ask for that special grace during this Lenten Season. To have that on-going conversion of heart — that we really discover and feel that God is with us. And in what you have been doing, a life of service, is where we are going to find real happiness.
So let’s keep going, always keep learning. Keep growing, keep opening our hearts to the beautiful things that God wants us to in our lives. Then the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel will be real in our lives:
Amen, amen, I say to you whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life.
A life of absolute happiness.
So again, congratulations to all of you who are being honored today. We are proud of you. You show us that our lives should be lives of service and real happiness.
And let’s ask Our Blessed Mother Mary for her intercession, to help all of you, and all of us to follow Jesus and to be good Christian servants, putting love into everything we do and serving our neighbors with joy!
1. Readings (Wednesday, Fourth Week of Lent, Year B): Isa. 49:8-15; John 5:17-30.