July 28, 2019 | 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Next weekend we will welcome the Daughters of the Divine Love, a religious order of sisters, who do missionary work in Africa and other countries. One of the sisters will speak after the homily, and a second collection will be taken for their missionary work. You can read more information about the sisters and their work by going to www.ofdivinelove.com. Please welcome them, and your generosity will be greatly appreciated! If you wish to contribute by check, please make the check out to OLM, and in the memo line write “Mission Appeal.”

All of us have probably experienced fear-based leadership. Perhaps a boss, parent, coach or teacher. They created an atmosphere where we found ourselves operating primarily out of fear; fear of making the slightest mistake and being punished, of getting on the boss’s wrong side and being ostracized. I remember a nun at the Catholic grammar school I attended whose stare and discipline put “the fear of God” in me! I suspect some of you had that experience too. These experiences can have real and lasting effects on us, teaching us to anticipate punishment, blame others, and become overcritical of ourselves. Our fears and anxieties then often slide into other areas of our lives, including our walk of discipleship and the ways we picture God. Without even realizing it, we can slip into believing that God is like an angry boss set on punishing us; then the Christian life becomes much more like a fear-based work environment instead of “life in abundance” that Jesus came to give.

God wants us to experience him as he is so that we can live the life he planned for us. Pope Francis writes: “Mercy is the first attribute of God. The name of God is mercy. There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand.” Experiencing and trusting in God’s mercy are the primary tasks of discipleship. In today’s first reading, God’s mercy is relentless captured in the dialogue between Moses and God. In Jesus, Mercy has a face. Jesus offered salvation to the world – not because of our own merit, but by God’s mercy. In the Church, justice and mercy kiss. Christians are called to be relentless in their mercy, tireless in their tenderness, and committed to holding together both justice and mercy. May God’s divine mercy touch your heart this week!

Have a blessed summer!

Fr Don