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At the beginning of creation, God breathed the Holy Spirit into the nostrils of Adam so that he would receive life. Adam and Eve, our first parents, lived in a perfect world until sin slithered in to disrupt our relationship with God. In our weaknesses, we turned to sin and thus lost God’s favor. However, God did not turn his back to us and walk away from us, his most prized creations, even though we often were ungrateful of his merciful love. God vowed that he would one day send a redeemer to save us from our sinful ways so that we might again reside again in his loving grace.
During this Easter season, we commemorated the most significant event in human history, the fulfillment of God’s promise through the Passion and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is through God‘s merciful love, even though we are sinners that he fulfills his promise. It is through God’s merciful love that he continues to intervene in our lives forgiving our sins, calling us to cleanse our conscious and rededicating ourselves to him. It is through God’s merciful love that we can look forward to the day of our death and resurrection.
We often fearfully wonder if our way to the Kingdom will be blocked because we fail to remain wholly free from sin. We fear that we will not be able to enter heaven because of the deviant thoughts that creep into our consciousness or because of our inability to believe in the saving power of our God. However, God in his mercy never leaves us even as we fail in our faith of him. He demonstrated his unending love for us in sending his only Son as our Savior.
Jesus remains with us as we encounter the threats that often challenge our faith. He remains our beacon of hope even while murderers attack us while we celebrate his Resurrection. He remains our sacred answer in seeking human dignity for each person even while politicians fight about words rather than about lives. He remains our trustworthy advocate gently guiding us to our heavenly homeland while we fear for our souls in a destructively evil world. Jesus remains the solution to the ache in our hearts when we fear that there is no hope.
We will not find solace for this heartache except in seeking out the Lord. Although our sins were the cause of Jesus’ suffering and death, in his never-ending love, he still lovingly returns to us at his Resurrection. Jesus as his first act after his resurrection was to take away the fears of the Apostles by breathing on them, filling them with the Holy Spirit. This breath commemorates the breath giving birth to Adam at the dawn of creation, also indicates our rebirth freeing us from the chains of sin and death.
Jesus in breathing on the Apostles changes them forever giving them the ability to forgive sins, to cure the diseased and drive out demons. Jesus sent them on a mission to evangelize the world with the words:
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
These sacred powers given to the Apostles have been propagated down in the succeeding generations through the ordination of our priests. In the reception of the Sacraments, through the hands of the priest, we too experience Jesus’ power to change our lives.
Each time we receive a Sacrament we are publically proclaiming as the Apostle Thomas once did “My Lord and My God” for we are accepting that Jesus has saved us from our sins. In each Sacrament, Jesus stands before us and breathes upon us transmitting God’s grace through the actions of the Holy Spirit. When we receive one of the Sacraments, we proclaim our trust in the Lord. We proclaim that we can walk without fear for the Lord will show us the way. We proclaim that we believe that the Lord’s love is unending and that he will lead us into his heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus comes to us in the Sacraments so that we can believe in God’s mercy and love. We know of God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation where he forgives our sins assuring us that he will never leave us. We become more aware of God’s love when we receive the Body and Blood of his Son in the Eucharist assuring us of his promise to save us. In his mercy, “Our Lord and Our God” is always with us. In his love, “Our Lord and Our God” will always save us.