As you may know, we ordained a Priest and a Deacon to the Church. Fr. Mathew Dunn and Deacon Taylor Sanford. I encourage you to pray for them as they begin their ministry. I wasn’t able to attend the ordination because of the COVID restrictions. However, I did watch it on TV with Fr. Al. The Bishop presided and gave the homily, and to begin his homily; he brought up what happened during the rehearsal. Tom Ranzino said, now remember where you are now and remember how you got from there to here. The Bishop took that phrase and used it another way a more profound reflective way. Remember how you got here, not just physically here as you walked up here, instead, how your life journey brought you to this point! Sitting in the rectory watching the ordination Mass, it called to mind my journey to where I am now. How did I get to this point, preaching here at St. Joseph, the worker. My journey, as I may have shared with you before, took a couple of detours along the way and some unexpected turns. However, something that I know never changed for me was that God’s love was always with me, helping me to become who I am today, and he will continue to be with me as I go forward in the priesthood!
St. Paul gives us some encouraging words in the second reading that we just heard. We may have heard them before at funerals. What can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus? The answer is nothing; nothing can separate us from the love of God. Paul will go on to mention many things that will try and separate us from the love of God and reassure us that none of these things will separate us from his love! These words are comforting to us at funerals because it reminds us that even though someone has died, nothing will separate that person from God’s love. I try and always assure people during a funeral that God wants nothing less than to bring us to Jesus in heaven.
I don’t think this passage is only suitable for funerals but can be reassuring to our lives every day. Our experience can be chaotic at times, and life can take unexpected twists and turns. If someone told me that in my first year of priesthood, we would have to socially distance, wear masks everywhere, we go and sanitize the Church after every Mass I probably would say you are crazy. Yet here we are dealing with this pandemic. I would have said the same thing to someone who told me my ordination would be delayed twice. The beauty is that no matter how crazy the world seems, no matter how much our lives may change, one thing is always consistent. Jesus’ love for us remains the same, and nothing can separate us from that love!
How can we live out our lives with this knowledge and keep our eyes on the love Jesus has for us? One way we can find time in prayer with him to build our relationships with him. As you may know, we have adoration here at Church 5 days a week. Our adoration chapel is closed right now, but we expose the blessed sacrament, before Mass Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday, and after Mass on Monday and Friday. If you can’t make adoration, find a place in your homes for prayer and find ways to remind yourself of Jesus’ love for you. We also have the most excellent guide and help for our lives right here at Mass. Receiving the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist helps keep us close to him and remind us of his love.
The Bishop today encouraged us to remember how we got here. What I, too, hope to remember is that God’s love was always with me even as my life took a couple of detours to where I am today. Take peace and courage in the words of St. Paul. What can separate us from the love of God? No external power will ever separate us from his love. Even when our lives seem difficult, God is always there with us.