My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
This past week has been just a beautiful, wonderful, blessed week here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as you probably know.
This past Thursday, I had the privilege to ordain our new Auxiliary Bishop Marc Trudeau, and last week, I was privileged to ordain nine new priests to serve the family of God here in Archdiocese. And then yesterday, we celebrated the ordinations of sixteen new permanent deacons who will serve in parishes throughout the Archdiocese.
Just a great blessing that I wanted to share with you because it is so special for all of us here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. And these are wonderful signs.
So let us keep praying and growing in our desire for holiness and to serve him and to glorify him with our lives and to continue trying to serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The readings we have just heard this morning are serious and powerful and they are very important for understanding our place and our purpose in the world.
Actually I’m glad that the new graduates are here cause this is like a theology class. So, let’s see what we can try to do to make it easier for all of us to try to understand what is it that Jesus and the Word of God is telling us today.
So, the readings of today’s mass remind us that “reality” is greater than what we can know and perceive through reason. There is “another world,” a world of the spirit that is just as real, just as true. A world that we can know by faith and God’s revelation.
Sometimes we have a hard time understanding that there is something else besides the material things that we deal with and the reality of the world in which we live. But with faith we can discover and believe that there is another world that is total happiness and that is God’s plan for creation and for all of us.
In the second reading, St. Paul says:
We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
God is the Lord of creation and the Lord of history. We need to remember that. God is in charge, even when we think that we can run the world, or run our lives — without him.
This is really the struggle that is going on in history. It is the struggle between God’s will and our will. And it is “built-in” to creation.
That is what we learn from that first reading this morning, which tells us about the original sin of Adam and Eve, our first human parents.
What we discover there is that God created us with freedom. Why? Because love is only possible if you are free. And God created us for love — to love him and to love one another. But love is always a choice. — I choose God above all other things. I choose to follow his path for my life, not the one I might want for myself.
But freedom, as we know, has risks. God knew that when he created us, it was a risk, in a sense. Because we are free to choose him. But then we are also free to reject him, to choose something else.
And I think we see that in our own lives. There is a kind of “selfishness” that we are born with. This leads us to want things and to pursue things that are not always the right things for us.
Then there is the sad reality of sin. Sin separates us — from God and from the people in our lives.
For as we know, God is our Father and does not leave us alone. Ever! Even when we turn our back on him, even when we choose to follow our own path and not the one he has given to us. God goes out to look for us, calling us, trying to bring us back.
This is why he sends Jesus into the world— to show us the way back home, the way back to him. That’s what we see in our Gospel reading today.
Jesus tells us that Satan’s work is to divide and to scatter —to create divisions between us and God and to create divisions among ourselves.
Jesus tells us today, “A house divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” This is true on many levels.
We see political divisions in our country, and also divisions even in the Church. And we also see divisions in our families and inside ourselves.
Sin is always the source of all these divisions— selfishness and wanting everything to go “my way.” And the source of unity is always the Holy Spirit and the plan of God.
Instead of thinking about ourselves, we need to think of God and then others. First God and then others and finally ourselves.
And in the Gospel today, Jesus gives us this beautiful picture of the Church, the new family of God.
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
So my dear brothers and sisters, this is God’s purpose in the drama of history. This is what he wants for the story of our lives.
Those who are gathered around Jesus, those who seek to do God’s will and not our own will. We are the family of God. We are God’s children.
And God’s plan for the human person and for humanity is still in effect. God the Father is still calling to his children — everywhere in the world today.
And this is our responsibility, my brothers and sisters.
First to enjoy and understand that doing God’s will is the best option that we have. We are all looking for happiness. How are we going to get there — have that happiness that we are looking for?
Yes. Doing God’s will.
And it’s also our responsibility to share with others this beautiful plan of God’s for creation and the human person.
So God wants us to be a part of his plan. We have a role to play in our ordinary lives. We need to stay close to Jesus and bring others to him.
So this week, let us try to be more attentive to God’s call. And try to know and do the will of God in every moment. Have that holy pride of being members of the family of God — sons and daughters of God. Knowing that God is our loving father who is there with us always and for everything.
And let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church, to help us to trust in God’s plan for our lives and to follow it.
1. Readings: Gen 3:9-15; Ps. 130:1-8; 2 Cor. 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35.