Bishop Patrick J. McGrath gave the following homily, September 19, 2013, at the Mass to Celebrate Special Needs, held at Santa Teresa Church.
My friends, brothers and sisters: As we are gathered here this evening as the friends of Jesus that we are, we gather together in his name, and also as members of one family. We come together, each of us invited by the Lord, who himself welcomes us to the table of his Word and shares his own Body and Blood as our food and drink from the Eucharistic table here. Our Scripture readings this evening form part of that invitation.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus invites those who are weary and those who carry heavy burdens to find rest and refreshment. Jesus, as it were, is calling us to “R & R”! For he knows the burdens that are ours, since he himself became one of us, human in every way that we are, tempted in every way that we are, prone to illness and suffering, just as we are. And because he was without sin, he teaches us that such a life can be possible. That eternal life is our destiny and our goal. In our frailties, he invites us: come, rest in me. And I will make you whole.
In his Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul writes of his bond with that young Christian community. He is like them; they can become like him. In bearing his sufferings, he is an example to them of the joy to be found in union with Christ, whose light burden and easy yoke he and they have taken willingly upon themselves.
Tonight we celebrate the love of Christ that held absolutely nothing back: obedient even to death, death on the cross. Because of that God highly exalted him.
My friends, it was in weakness, Saint Paul wrote, that he was made strong. In suffering that one becomes strong. Our suffering is sometimes more visible, more obvious. But it also unites us and enables us to understand and appreciate the distress of others.
It is no more real than that experienced by others. But we may be more aware of our union with Christ and his Cross. Also, if we want to see the face of God we may look in the mirror or the person closest to us. In God’s wondrous love, each of us shares the dignity of being children, heirs, those made in God’s image and likeness.
May we see in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones signs of God’s grace by which each of us is invited to be grace and to be a blessing to our world. And remember always, that in the Lord Jesus, in his Church and in one another each and every one of us can come home to a place of love, welcome and understanding.