Dear Brothers and Sisters,
God calls us to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. That means that we are called to be his witnesses here on earth. We have many opportunities throughout the day to share God’s love with other people, whether by word or deed. On this upcoming Labor Day, September 5th, we will have an unique moment to do so at the Marlboro Labor Day Parade. As last year, we will have a float from the Parish to display our faith to the world. The theme this year will be Jesus, Divine Mercy.
We live in a world that violence, hatred, and division is displayed everyday and everywhere. Whether our local news or threats or war elsewhere in the world, we end up being surrounded by that message. Sometimes it seems that there is no hope and that we are doomed. Therefore, we are called to be a sign of hope to everyone. This year’s theme of Divine Mercy was chosen to give hope to everyone. Not only do we need unconditional love shown to us, but also forgiveness. Can you imagine how people are out there who have not met God’s unconditional love for them? There are many people who think that God does not love them at all. Or how many people think that they do not deserve or can’t be forgiven because of their actions they did? We may not need to go too far. Sometimes we ourselves don’t feel God’s love 100%, or we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for what we did. If we have those difficulties, how much harder will it be for others?
When Jesus appears to Faustina Kowalska he wants his message to be given to everyone. There are some other apparitions that Jesus reveals how sad that people don’t ask him for graces, or don’t accept his forgiveness. Somehow we get stuck with the mentality of God’s wrath and punishment and we shield ourselves from his love and mercy. Even in the Old Testament God speaks through the prophets that He wants mercy not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6), or He does not wish the sinner to die, but to turn back to him and live (Ezekiel 33:11). Only by feeling loved and forgiven can we love others and forgive them. The petition found in the words of the Our Father become true only after we are forgiven.
Therefore brothers and sisters, let’s become messengers of his Divine Mercy to the world on this Labor Day. We don’t have all the details sorted out yet, but usually we meet up at the parking lot across the street from the Collins Funeral home and get ready for the march. Hopefully the seminarians will be able to join us this year once again to help us sing with joy! This is also a great opportunity for all the communities of our parish to come together as one body. We will be singing in all 3 languages, chanting, and spreading lots of God’s love. We invite especially the children to come as well! As last year, they were all on the float showing that our Church is very much alive and vibrant. In the meantime, I would like to invite you to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day to help us be prepared for this moment and to ask God to open people’s hearts to receive his message. This weekend’s Gospel we hear Jesus saying that only those who enter through the narrow gate will be saved. Well, let’s take with us as many people as we can!!!
Father Steven Clemence