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Our Sinfulness, God's Mercy

Since today’s gospel was longer than usual, my homily will be shorter than usual.

We just heard the story of the Passion that took place nearly 2000 years ago and we need to ask: How does it connect to our lives today? I believe that there are two connections: Namely, our sinfulness and God’s mercy.

It is a basic fact of life that we are sinful people. We are sinful in thought, word and deed. When Pope Francis took office he began his speech by saying: “I am a sinner.” St. John says it so well in the first chapter of his first letter: “If we say that we are without sin, we are liars.” We are sinful persons and those who condemned Jesus to death were sinful and those who nailed him to the cross were sinful.

Those sinful people represent us. That’s how our story connects to their story. It is our sin and our selfishness that connect us to the story of the Passion. That is the first connection. The second connection is God’s mercy.

Before he died Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross. Jesus forgave them and his Father forgave them after Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” Their sin was big, but God’s mercy was bigger. That is what is told in Romans Chapter 5. And what God did for the soldiers and the leaders of the people in the first century and what God is doing for us today.

Our sins are forgiven - not because we deserve it but because God’s mercy continues to be so powerful. The mercy of God reaches from the first century into our own day. There is no limit to God’s love and mercy. The bottom line is that we are simultaneously sinful and saved.

I will close with a short summary.

I see two points of connection between the Passion of Jesus and our lives today: Human sinfulness and God’s mercy. We see evidence of human sinfulness in the first century and today. We see evidence of God’s mercy in the first century and today.

Thus, we need to confess that we are sinful and that we need to praise God for being kind and merciful.

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