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Homily for January 19, 2021

Do you trust the promises? Today’s first reading from the Letter to the Hebrews tells us we are inheritors of the promises. What are they? The promise that God loves us. The promise that God forgives sins. The promise that God is always with us. Do you trust the promises?

It all starts with God

At the beginning of a new civil year, the focus can be on making resolutions. More than that, the focus can be simply on our own effort to accomplish these resolutions. We must work harder. We must put in more effort. We must do it ourselves. In today’s first reading from Saint John, we learn the most important truth. It all starts with God. We can love because God first loved us. So seek his grace.

Love in the heart of the church

Life is pretty hard. Most people, probably all, have moments of difficulty. A loved one dies. A spouse becomes ill. A friend goes through a difficult time. A relative struggles to find a job. People in countries far away and down the street struggle with violence. Others are ravaged by poverty. There is no shortage of evil, difficulties and sin. And when these things happen, we can question how it is that God allows such suffering and difficulty. Yet God the Father sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins. To become one of us, to share in the experience of evil. And so when we find ourselves suffering because of sin, disease, evil, violence, poverty or suffering, we can rest assured we are not alone. Saint Therese of Lisieux, the saint we celebrate today, lost her mother at a very young age, and her oldest sister, who cared for her like a mother, died before Therese became an adult. Yet in the midst of this loss, she found the love of God, a love so powerful that even though she had never left Europe, she became the patron saint of the missions. She thanked God for helping her to love. We must know we are never alone, and in all our suffering we are always in the presence of God.

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