Deacon Carlos Londono.
Studying for the priesthood, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Ministering at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Pewakee, WI.
April 28th, 2019.
Today, I get to preach for the first time. And I am grateful to God that my first homily ever will be on His Mercy since today is Divine Mercy Sunday! And I am so grateful because I know that if I can stand in front of you this morning and preach it is because of his Mercy, because he had mercy on me. So, as I said, it is very fitting to preach on God’s mercy this morning.
So, here we go, the Mercy of God.
One day I was visiting my friend’s parents, the Colles. They own a farm where they have cattle and sheep. They day I was visiting they also had newborn lamb and, of course, I wanted to see the them! When I got to the farm, I was told three of them had lost their mother and they had to be bottle fed and so I asked if I could help out feeding them. When these little lambs saw me approaching, bottle in hand, they began crying because they knew they were going to get fed. And then I thought: thank God someone hears their cries of these lamb and comes to feed them every day.
This is the best image I’ve gotten so far to describe God’s mercy: He hears the cries of the poor. He truly hears the cries of the poor. And He wants us to do the same.
Notice – Care – Take Action
This morning, I would like to propose a way for us to be merciful, to hear the cries of the poor. Three steps: notice, care and take action. In other words, notice the cries of others, care about them and do something about them.
Let’s see how this three steps are played out in the Word of God that we just heard proclaimed. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we heard that some people that had just become Christians were taking the sick out into the streets so that when Peter passed by, he could see them and heal them by the power of the Holy Spirit. These first Christians noticed the pain of these sick people, cared about it and did something to heal that pain. Had these sick men and women remained unknown, had their pain not been noticed by these new Christians, their cries would have not been heard at least in the way the first reading describes it.
So, I would like to ask a question: do we notice? Do we notice well? Do I notice the family member that is sad or in difficulty? do I notice my friend’s or my spouses’ pain?
When we notice, God notices as well!
Now, noticing should be accompanied by caring! I can notice things going on around me and not take the extra step of caring. The easy way out would be: “well, someone else will do something… or “well, life is hard anyways!” This might be the easy way out but it is not the Christian way.
Here is a second question: How much do I care about the things that I notice? How much do I care about my son’s or daughter’s bad day at school or my neighbor that has been sick for a few days now? Do I let these things affect me? Do I let them get to my heart and move me to compassion, to action?
Now, the action part. Yes, the work of mercy is also that, work. The first Christians from the first reading took the time and the effort to bring the sick people out into the streets, they laid them on cots and mats and as you can imagine this takes time, energy and resources.
One final question: am I willing to let go of my time, energy and resources to do the work of mercy? Am I willing to invest in doing something about the things I notice and hopefully care about?
Brothers and sisters, doing this kind of work might leave us wounded sometimes. Look at the Heart of Jesus: it was pierced! If we live out mercy, if we notice, if we care and are moved to action: to feeding the hungry, to consoling the sad, to visiting the sick and the lonely, to being kind! If we do all these things we might get our hearts pierced as well. We might run out of energy, or confront people’s ingratitude or standoffishness and get called “weird” maybe.
If that ever happens to you, I invite you to come to this altar. Here, God not only asks us to be merciful but He provides us with the means to be so! And what are these means? His flesh, his blood: Himself! He feeds us with himself so that we may be so full with his life, that we may do the things that He does: like noticing well, caring deeply and doing the work of mercy.
This is quiet the challenge for all of us but it is also quiet the joy! Jesus promised happiness to those who are merciful! “Blessed [happy] the merciful, for the will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7). So, do we want to be happy, brothers and sisters? Here is the secret: notice, care and be moved to action.