Wednesday, September 24, 2014

¡La generosidad y misericordia de Dios no tiene fin!

Por Obispo Auxiliar Rutilio del Riego

Lecturas: Isaias 55:6-9; Salmo 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18; Filipenses 1:20-24, 27; Mateo 20:1-16

Los siguientes son extractos de la homilía el Obispo del Riego dio durante la primera misa en español en Santa Francisca Xavier Cabrini, Crestline el 21 de septiembre.

Lo primero que nos dice el Señor por el profeta Isaías es que no tendremos miedo de buscarle y acercarnos a él. Él se acercado a nosotros. En el antiguo testamento fue el que se acercó al pueblo, el que eligió al pueblo, el que libero al pueblo, el que acompaño al pueblo, el que los llevo a la tierra prometida, el que les dio sus líderes.

En el nuevo testamento fue Dios mismo que se hizo uno con nosotros, Emanuel – Dios con nosotros. Es que se hace presente cada vez aquí que celebramos la eucaristía en su palabra y en el sacramento en una manera especialísima. Entonces no tengamos miedo de buscar al Señor y acercarnos a él.

Como el pueblo judío, algunas veces no hemos olvidado o desobedecido gravemente. A veces nos hemos alejado de él por una conducta contraria de su voluntad. Pero no debemos pensar que Dios es indiferente o rencoroso. ¡No! Dios es muy generoso.

Lo escuchamos en la primera lectura y en el salmo. Él ofrece su misericordia y su perdón. Como hemos dicho en el salmo, el Señor está cerca de los que lo invocan. Él es misericordioso, lento en la ira y lleno de amabilidad. Él es compasivo y misericordioso, mucho más que ningún humano puede ser.

En el Evangelio, podemos ver otro ejemplo de que bueno es Dios. Recuerda que Jesus nos narra una historia del propietario que tiene una viña y que necesita trabajadores, Mateo 20:1-16. Hoy todavía tenemos jornaleros, personas que están buscando trabajo en Home Depot o en otros lugares. No son gente vaga que no quieren trabajar. El propietario viene varias veces durante el día, contractando a los jornaleros con la promesa de un salario justo. Esto sucede cada día, hasta en el día de hoy.

En el momento en donde se tiene que pagar los jornaleros, Jesus, que maestro más extraordinario, paga primero a los últimos. A cada grupo se paga el mismo, pero se enojan. Pero, ¿cómo? Usted los ha dado el mismo a los que vinieron al final que a nosotros. ¡Esto no es justo! Y digo el señor, un momento. Nosotros nos pusimos acuerdo que un denario era generoso y justo. ¿Yo no puedo ser generoso a todos?

¿Qué es la lección? Es que Dios es muy generoso. ¡No nos paga los que merecemos, sino mucho más! No nos invita al ministerio que merecemos o que somos dignos, sino el que él quiere. Así nadie puede decir que Dios no me va llamar a ningún ministerio, porque yo no soy digno. Es que él no llama a los dignos, el elige a los que él quiere.

El Papa Francisco habla sobre esto casi a diario. Es bueno que lo escuchemos y que lo pensemos y leamos. Dios es tan bueno, tan compasivo, tan misericordioso, que no lo podemos imaginar. Tiene un plan de salvación que es realmente para todos. No hay nadie que puede ser perdido. No hay nadie que podemos decir, este no tiene solución. Es que Dios, nuestro Señor, Él es tan generoso que puede sacar personas de las piedras. Puede cambiar los corazones como lo ha hecho a través de la historia.

Santa Monica no perdió la confianza en que dios iba cambiar el corazón de su hijo. Y Dios cambio el corazón de su hijo. Pedro y los apóstoles no desesperaban como Judas creyendo que Jesus no podía perdonarlos, y menos, invitarlos a ser discípulos y apóstoles de Dios. Pero fue Judas que se equivocó. Porque Jesus si tuvo compasión y encargo el ministerio a Pedro y los demás apóstoles que se iban avergonzado de él.

Entonces ningún de nosotros, cualquiera que será nuestra situación, podemos desesperar de Dios. No podemos desesperar ni siquiera de nosotros mismos, porque somos creaturas de Dios. Porque hay amor de Dios entre nosotros. Si no, no hubiera vida.

Es bueno que lo recordemos y también lo pasemos humildemente, pero sinceramente a los demás. Hay hermanos y hermanas que tal vez están pasando por pruebas y dificultades muy profundas y están pasando por tiempos de desánimo o tentaciones de desesperación. Nunca podemos desesperar de Dios porque su amor es para siempre. Su amor no tiene fin.



God’s generosity and mercy knows no bounds
By Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego

Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 145: 2-3, 8-9, 17-18; Phil 1:20-24, 27; Matt 20: 1-16

The following are excerpts from a homily Bishop del Riego gave during the first Spanish Mass at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Crestline on Sept. 21.

The first thing that the Lord tells us through the prophet Isaiah is that we should not fear from searching for him, for he is with us. In the Old Testament we see that he came to the people. He chose his people. He liberated his people. He was with his people, showed them to the promised land and gave them leaders.

In the New Testament God, himself, became present among us, Emmanuel – God among us. He makes himself present to us here in a very special way whenever we celebrate the Eucharist, in his word and in the sacrament. Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid of searching out for him and drawing close to him.

Like our Jewish ancestors, we sometimes forget him and disobey him. Sometimes we distance ourselves from him through actions that are contrary to his will. This is not, however, reason for us to believe that God is indifferent or vengeful towards us. No! God is much too generous.

We hear it in the first reading and in the psalm. He offers his mercy and forgiveness. Like we said in today’s psalm, the Lord is near to those who call upon him. He is merciful, slow to anger and great in kindness. He is more compassionate and merciful than any man could ever try to be.

In the Gospel, we see another example of the goodness of God. Here we see Jesus narrating the parable of a landowner with a vineyard in need of workers, Matt 20:1-16. Today we still have day laborers, people in search of work. You can find them at Home Depot or in many other places. These people aren’t lazy or any less deserving. They just want to work. The property owner comes at several times during the day to offer the men a job with the promise of a fair wage. This happens every day, even now.

When it is time to pay the day laborers, Jesus, who is such a great teacher, says that the last were paid first. Each group of workers is paid the same amount, but that angers some. How could this be? You have paid the people who just came to work the same wage. That is not fair! But the owner replies, wait a minute. We agreed on a generous and just wage. Can I not be generous with everyone?

What is the lesson here? It is that God is very generous. He does not reward us what we deserve, but so much more! He doesn’t invite us to serve in a ministry that we might deserve, but the one that HE wants us to be in. So no one can say that God cannot call be calling him or her to a ministry because they are not worthy. He does not call those who say they are worthy, but those who He decides He wants.

Pope Francis speaks of this almost on a daily basis. It is good that we are reminded of this and that we reflect on this. God is so good, so compassionate, so merciful that we cannot even imagine. His plan for salvation is, in truth, for everyone. No one can say they are a lost cause. No one can say of another, there is no hope for him. God is so great that he can turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. He can transform lives like he has done throughout the ages.

St. Monica never lost hope in God transforming the heart of her son. In the end God did transform the heart of her son. Peter and the Apostles did not lose hope like Judas and thought that Jesus wouldn’t be able to forgive him. Judas was wrong. Jesus indeed was compassionate and charged Peter and the others to be Apostles of God, despite what they had done.

Therefore, none of us, whatever our situation may be, can lose hope in God. We cannot lose hope in each other either, because we are a part of God’s creation. The love of God lives in us. If it didn’t, we could not possibly live.

It is good that we remember this and that we share this humbly, but sincerely with others. There are brothers and sisters out there that might be going through trials and difficulties or feeling discouraged and desperate. She should never despair, because the love of God is always with us. His love is eternal.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Role of Faith in Our Lives

By Deacon John De Gano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

This summer our diocese had the opportunity to put our faith into action on behalf of immigrant children and mothers who were being shuttled by ICE officials to reception centers for coordination with and transportation to sponsors throughout the country.

And as with all things human, we had a mixed bag of responses – from warm receptions and smiles to confusion and mistrust to angry voices and threats.

We recall this aspect of humanity every Holy Week as we retell Jesus’ passion, beginning with his warm welcome into Jerusalem and ending with his arrest, crucifixion, death and burial.

And, hopefully, we are a bit humbled that we could be like ‘those’ who sang Jesus’ praises one day and yelled for his death the next.

The full gamut of emotions.

What leads people to do this?

Is it only political ideology? NIMBYism? Or just plain fear?

In the Gospel of Mark, we see the disciples come between Jesus and the little children and their parents, who bring their children to Jesus for a blessing.

They may have had every good intention. They were tired, hot, bothered, anxious to get back home and to their comfy beds. Perhaps all they wanted was a nice bath, to feel ‘human’ again after their storm-tossed adventure on the Sea of Galilee? And they wanted to protect Jesus from the crush of the crowds of well-wishers and spies who sought to trip him up and get him arrested.

Jesus has to chide the disciples. Not for the good they sought to do, but for getting in the way of God’s plan. Jesus was on the road to Jerusalem and the cross. He knew that he would not be this way again. He wanted to reach out and touch everyone he could before that fateful entry into Jerusalem made it impossible for him to do so.

Many of us fear the unknown. We are uncomfortable in our skin. And we want to protect our loved ones and ourselves.

Rumors become fact. Fact becomes fiction. And the media often fans the distrust and anger to make “news.”

It is in times like these that faith sustains us. Faith grounds us and brings us peace. It gives us hope and compels us to serve God and our neighbor as we would ourselves.

Abraham welcomed the three strangers at his door, insisting that they allow him to provide them food, drink and a place to rest awhile before they continued on their appointed rounds. For his graciousness, God blessed his family and made them a great people. Abraham was accounted a friend of God by his actions.

During the Black plague, priests and those learned in the ways of herbal medicine did their part to stem the sickness, often at the cost of their very lives. They placed their faith in God and eventually the cause of said plague was discovered and the disease confined and eradicated.

We have to step up and, in faith, serve the stranger at our door.

Like the Good Samaritan, we need to show mercy and compassion to those who we do not know so that they might, in turn, do the same for others.

Unlike Jesus, we will never know all those we have touched in this life, but if we do not reach out we have wasted the gift of our embrace. The gentle touch of our hand and the smile that has the ability to melt hearts.

St. Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless (burdened) until they rest in you, o Lord!”

Let us not be hearers of the word only, but doers, as well.

Step out in faith. And in love.