"Saint Paul tells us today that “the love of Christ drives us”. Here is the true power of our life, here is that what the Community gives us, which is much more than just taking the drugs out of our brains, our minds, and our memories: it gives us the true strength that unleashes the force of God inside of us. It’s called faith. Yes, blessed are you Mary, who believed! In the “yes” of Mary the drive of God enters into history, and there history shifts into a new gear, the gear of salvation. We all have this gear, we just need to find what can make us engage it. For us in the Community, it’s this: the hands of our brothers and sisters that become the Providence of God for us and that teach us how to engage this new gear, the drive of God in us that raises us up"
Father Francesco Peyron IMC
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus! Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus! Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus! You all will say: “the disc is skipping” but no, it is because this very morning we are going to speak of the mercy, of the sacrament of reconciliation, and so from out of the heart comes this cry: “Glory and praise to you, the Risen Crucified, whom with your blood, gives us life”. Firstly, I wanted to say this invocation three times, so that this reality can be deeply rooted in our hearts: God loves you, God saves you, and God frees you.
It is a great joy to be here with you and to be able to say what I truly feel in my heart about the sacrament of reconciliation, about the mercy of God, and about our response. I would like to start by citing two psalms. I’ll start with psalm 117, in which, it is repeated three times “His mercy endures forever”; endures forever means that now, here amongst us, is the Mercy of God. And then psalm 94 tells us: “Do not harden your hearts today, but listen to the voice of the Lord”; today Jesus wants to speak to you in a particular way. Today the merciful Father who looks upon you with love, who runs to meet you, who embraces you, who puts a ring on your finger, is present here, for you. “Do not harden your hearts”: let us be touched by this mercy, from this God who wants to remake us anew, each and every one of us.
We know how strong evil is, how much Satan wants to create desperation and pessimism in the hearts of each one of us. He wants to pull us towards the evil to make us despair, because then everything is useless. But instead the Lord tells us: “I am mercy, I embrace you, I make you my child, I make you new”. So then this is a moment of grace, of pacification, of joy, and of hope. I ask the Holy Spirit and Our Lady, present here in this most beautiful statue of Fatima, to help each one of us this morning print in our hearts the beginning of this walk. That we feel this God luminous, crucified and risen, who loves us and tells us: “Come, stand up, arise!”, like he said to the paralytic: “Your sins are forgiven, and that you may know that the Son of Man was given this power, I tell you: arise!”. And he stood up, not a paralytic anymore, not under the pessimism, the anguish, the sadness, the fear, or the doubt anymore, but he has risen, on his feet, he walks!
I’d like that today, in our hearts, this would be able to enter in a strong, profound way, that: Jesus looks upon you with love, he touches you, he tells you “be healed”, he takes you by the hand and tells you “arise and walk”. In my experience as a priest, how many times, after a good, sincere, open confession, when I have given the absolution, I hear this, and it always moves me: “How I feel lighter, I feel much better now”. And it’s not just an expression, it’s the truth! Because sin, and evil, are like balls of iron at our feet, holding us down.
When the mercy of God touches us, you feel truly released, you feel embraced, new, lighter, and it’s this grace that we ask of the Lord today. Think for a moment – about the word “mercy” (in Italian – misericordia): What’s there in the middle? Cor, which in Latin, means heart, so then misericordia means the heart of God; in Hebrew there are two words for mercy, they are hamrim and hesed. Hamrim has the same root as the word for the wrapping that envelopes a baby in a mother’s womb; think of a baby in its mother’s womb, swathed in this wrapping: it’s mercy, tenderness, swaddled…
It’s years that I have the joy and the grace to frequent your Community, and you already know these things, that the miracles that happen in the hearts of the guys and the girls, of the parents, are the fruits of the mercy of God, of the power of the cross. And it truly remains a surprise! Surprise! These things, you touch them with your hand and then you say: “How powerful is the Sacrament of reconciliation! The Eucharist!”. It seems to me, that I can say, that the Community for you all is a bit like that hamrim, like the womb that swathed you in its love, with its mercy, and also with the help and the fraternal correction, with the “shampoos”, the so-called scolding of Mother Elvira… and all this goes in order to generate a new life.
So then we firmly believe in mercy. We must shake ourselves, we must experience this power of the Spirit, the God who loves you, who embraces you, who forgives you no matter what the sin. Think for moment about your past, your lives, any sin that you might have in your heart: the mercy of God, if you truly believe and desire it, forgives you; even if you would have an abortion, you feel that the mercy of God wants to forgive you as well, and you ask, when you confess, in the event that you would commit this sin, you ask that your aborted baby be baptized so that it may enter into the fullness of the light of the Lord.
We ask then, the grace to take this moment of light, of grace, and of joy, seriously and not to harden our hearts. We entrust ourselves to the Mother of Mercy; in the 19th chapter of the Gospel of John, there is this beautiful verse, I would say one of the most moving points in the Gospel, when Jesus on the cross sees the disciple whom he loved and said: “Son, behold your Mother. Woman, behold your son” and the verse after it says: “And from that moment the disciple took her with him”. In Greek it is more expressive, using the word istaidia, which means: “The disciple took her in his dearest affections”. The disciple took her in as what he had most dear to him. Question: think for just a moment, have you already taken Our Lady in your dearest affections?
Has Our Lady truly entered into your history, in your heart, in your life, deep inside of you, in your prayer, in your entrustment, putting yourself under her protection? Answer to yourself. If it’s yes, then I tell you that with her has also entered Jesus, and with Jesus the resurrection, the peace, the life, the joy, and the hope the future. If you would need to respond “more or less”, today you can take a step towards her. We ask also for the grace that in this morning of light, of hope, and of mercy that also we can truly welcome the Mother of Mercy in the hearts of each one of us.
Now adoration will follow.
That Jesus that passed through the streets of Palestine, will also pass here, amongst us. He will give you his blessing. Look at him intensely, ask something of Jesus, ask for something that you truly feel inside, that touches you inside. Look at him and say: “Lord Jesus, like the blind man of Jericho, have pity on me! Jesus, son of David, give me sight!”. That Our Lady may help us, so that this beautiful day, she may leave in the depths of our hearts, the certainty of a God who loves you and who leads you, the certainty that you are called, a calling, to respond so that we can give witness, give light, so that we can feel precious in his eyes!
He gave his life for you! Jesus died on the cross for you and today he says to you: “Come, son, daughter, I love you, help me bring to this world, so full of darkness, of evil, of solitude, of sadness, help me bring a ray of hope, of consolation, of joy, of life”. “Do not be afraid! I am with you always, until the end of the ages. Hallelujah!”