This Sunday, we end the Easter season with the great feast of Pentecost, celebrating the “birthday” of the Church and the start of the Church’s mission to the world.
It has been my privilege to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at many parishes during this season of the resurrection — and I’m happy that I will be visiting more of you in the days and weeks ahead.
When he is declared a saint later this year, Father Serra will be the latest in a line of “missionary saints” from the Americas that Pope Francis has elevated during his pontificate. It is clear that Pope Francis — the first pope from the New World — understands the Christian “roots” of the Americas and the continent’s importance for the Church’s mission in the 21st century.
Mary’s face was the first face that Jesus saw when he came into this world. Her voice was the first voice he heard.
The first apostles were proud to be “witnesses of his resurrection.” And that’s what it means to be a Christian. It means being a “witness to the resurrection.” It means we are called to bear witness to God's mercy and love.
The Church exists to evangelize — and the mercy of God is always the “content” of evangelization. Mercy is God’s revelation to us, it’s the good news the Church proclaims.
It was a beautiful Easter. More than 10,000 people came to join us for worship services at the cathedral during Holy Week. And across the archdiocese, we baptized nearly 2,000 new Christians at Easter.
“One must not love oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us. … But whoever out of love for Christ gives themselves to the service of others will live, like the grain of wheat that dies. ... Only in dying does it produce the harvest. … Whoever offers their life out of love for Christ, and in service to others, will live like the seed that dies.”
The Church has been thinking about these issues of crime and punishment and the common good for a long time, beginning with the teachings of Jesus and the apostolic writings of the New Testament.
As I write, I’m getting ready for our annual Religious Education Congress, as I know many of you are, too.
The Congress is one of the high points of every year here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — and it has been for decades.
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