By Bishop Alberto Rojas
Dear friends, peace and wellbeing to you and to your families throughout this joyful time of Easter; it is my prayer and hope that you are doing well. I just want to remind you that no matter what other people may say of you, you are a beautiful and an amazing human being because you were created in the image and likeness of God; you are a beloved child of God; you belong to God, you don’t belong to the devil, thanks to Christ Jesus. Have you ever stopped to think about the miracle of your life? You are a precious gift and a blessing with an incredible potential for yourself and for anyone else around you; you are in the world with a great purpose and with a mission from God. Are you aware of this?
I am sure you know that God has created each one of us with a “free will.” That means, God has given us the ability to choose freely, and it is our choice to look at the world around us and be amazed by its beauty, or to look at the world and only focus on what we are lacking according to our own judgement. Our perception has a powerful influence on our experiences, and a lot of what we see has to do with our minds. In other words, we look for what we believe to be true. For example, if you attend a social gathering and thought that the people there did not accept you, you will scan the group until you found someone with a frown on their face; and at that moment you would use that frown as evidence that you were not accepted or welcomed. Most likely the person with the unhappy face did not even know you, but that possibility never enters your mind because you are so intent in proving that your perception is correct and being right seems to be always important for you. The question is, would you rather be right or happy?
All Christians by virtue of our own baptism are called to consecrate, sanctify, and divinize the world, filling it with joyful hope and unconditional love. All of us have this potential, but sometimes it seems like we all have a group of people who upset us because they don’t do things the way we think they should; and we believe that “our way” is the best way. But there are also times when “God’s way” and “our way” are not the same, and when we refuse to do God’s will, we cannot have peace of mind.
Easter is a time when we are called to let go and let God. Let go of all anger and prejudice and let God’s love and compassion take over for every person we meet and in every situation we may find ourselves anywhere. Pope Francis says that God wants to tell us that we are precious and unique in His eyes; that no one can take our place in the heart of God. So, you come from greatness and you are made for greatness and no one can take that away from you.
God has given each one of us the amazing gift of life to live it once and enjoy it; and He surrounded us with so much beauty, not only in nature but also in people, and what we choose to notice is up to us. Jesus continually saw the good in human beings. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus reminds us “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” It would be very difficult for us to recognize the beauty in creation and in others if we first do not recognize it in ourselves; we are all a unique expression of God’s unconditional love. But if we are continually focusing on our faults and weaknesses, we will be covering up the beautiful “light” of God that resides in each of us.
Let us ask God daily to help us focus on the miracle of life that was bestowed upon us at birth. When we do that, our only response can be one of gratitude and thanksgiving; and having an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving is a powerful force that can change our lives and even the world. We don’t need to be specialists in bad news, Jesus told us that we are to be bearers of light and glad rejoicing. In choosing to see ourselves as the “gifts” we truly are, we are able to open our eyes and notice the beauty that surrounds us. It also becomes easier to recognize the beauty in every person we meet. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead invites us to make a special effort to be a willing and loving messenger. Let us not even try to run away or avoid our mission, because our loving presence may be exactly what somebody else has been waiting for to have an encounter with God. You never know, but we can be the only source for many people to believe in God’s loving presence among us.
Christ Jesus is indeed alive, but sometimes we miss Him because He is so much more alive than we are apt to be alive ourselves. So, lift your face, trust the Lord Jesus and smile! When the Angel of the Lord appeared to our blessed mother Mary, he brought her great news of rejoicing and she trusted, becoming the servant of God and bringing the Light to the world. The Angel of the Lord continues to search all over the world, looking for a servant of the Lord – someone who can be simple enough, trusting enough, to admit without understanding that in his or her heart also the Word will become flesh and dwell among us. If we don’t ask God for what may seem impossible to happen, then we are not asking Him to reveal Himself to us as God. In other words, if we only ask God for what’s possible, then we are only asking Him to do what we can do ourselves. But God is an awesome and loving God who always takes pleasure in doing what surpasses us; and for that, I am forever grateful. So, let us praise the name of the Lord together. Thank you for reading this simple reflection. May God always bless you!