November 17, 2019                                                                                                                      God's Mercy & Justice

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Do you know what all of the different layers of robes that a priest wears for Mass mean? Each has a meaning. The white robe underneath is a symbol of Baptism. The stole which I wear around both shoulders is a sign of authority. When it is around one shoulder that symbolizes a Deacon. When it is around both shoulders that means the wearer is a priest. The big outer garment is called a chasuble. This is only worn when we celebrate Mass. It is a sign of charity and hospitality. What is so cool and humbling about this is that the symbol of authority, of power, is almost completely covered by the symbol of charity, of love. Every time we put this on we are to remember this. Charity and love over power. Love is first. Most important and to be

most visible.

 

I was thinking of this when I saw the Readings for this week. As we move toward the end of the Church year, only two more weeks after this one, the Readings push us to think of the end times. The First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm speak of the coming of God’s justice. A definition listed for justice according to Dictionary.com is: the administering of deserved punishment or reward. That is the definition that I think of when I think of the Lord ruling the earth with justice. There is going to be nothing fake, no baloney, you will get what you deserve based on the way that you have acted. What we do, how we act, what we say, how we treat others, especially ones less powerful than us, matters. We know this. St. Paul talks about it in the Second Reading. We have heard it many times. So the Lord will come with justice and we will get what we deserve. How does this make you feel? If I’m being honest, it makes me a little scared. You?

 

 

 

 

 

But let’s look at the Gospel. Jesus talks about the trials and hardships that will come with the end times. It sounds horrible. There will be destruction and persecution. If we were listening to the first two Readings and the Psalm we may think that the Lord is just going to say, ”Deal with it. You dug your own grave. You’ll get what you deserve.” But did you hear it? That is not what He says. He says, ”When this stuff happens, trust me.” Jesus says that indeed. He is coming and indeed He will be just, but His justice will be covered by His mercy. His mercy will be greater. His mercy is what you will see. Stick close to Jesus and He will give you what you need.

So every time I get dressed for Mass, I put on my authority and then cover it with charity, with love. That is to remind me who I am and how I am supposed to act. I try and fail to live up to that each day. In a similar way the Lord tells us that as we approach the end of the year and the end of times, He will come with justice but that His justice will be covered with 
His mercy. Stay close to Him. Trust Him. He will see you through.

Peace and Love,
Fr. Matt