Father, there are two things I love about you!

09-23-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Father, there are two things I love about you: Your Sermon and your Socks! These were the words uttered to me by one of our very cheerful and faithful ushers one day after Mass and it took me completely off guard. I didn’t know how to react to this ‘complement’ because I believe that was what he meant to communicate. However, the more I came to think about it the more I realized that there are many ways we can and actually do influence others even without knowing including through mundane things like socks.

The more I thought about this, the more I started reflecting on what two things I love most about Jesus for which I would like to be remembered for because I resemble Jesus in that aspect. Of course, there are unlimited things I love about our Lord and Savior Jesus but the two that keep coming to my mind are, His powerful love and His unbounded compassion. Yes, love and compassion are concomitant features of Jesus’ very essence.

Regarding His love dear friends, our Lord has love like no other person I’ve ever known. All He is, and all He did was motivated by nothing but powerful love. His entire life was love in action and a pure reflection of God the Father’s own love for us. Look at how He took those five loaves and two fish from that little boy and fed multitudes of people out of love and compassion for the hungry crowd. Out of this same love, He continues to provide even today for my needs and the needs of my family and of my parish and yours as well. Do you recall how He rebuked the storm, and it obeyed him? Thinking of it I’m comforted to know that out of His love for me, He can still command the storms in my life, and they will submit to Him if I trust in him. Or do you remember when He commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb of death and he did? He loved Lazarus so much as He loves us. I am reminded by this episode that whenever Jesus comes face to face with death He always wins.

Yes, this is the one thing I love most about Jesus…His boundless love. He doesn’t just have the power to feed a multitude from a little boy’s lunch, He doesn’t just have the power to stop a storm with a single command, He doesn’t just have ultimate power over spiritual darkness, He actually has power over our greatest and final enemy, death itself. This unlimited power flows from His love.

The second thing I love about Jesus is His unlimited compassion and this is closely connected to the first. If He were all love without compassion, His love would be empty. But He was and is full of mercy and compassion. He wept for Lazarus and this same Jesus who wept at Lazarus’ grave is the same Jesus who sees each of my tears and your tears whenever we are hurting. The same Jesus who raised a little girl from her deathbed is the same Jesus who moments earlier stopped in the middle of the road to seek out a suffering and shame-stricken woman caught in adultery. His compassion is unbounded! He reaches out to us constantly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and with compassion forgives us our sins. Dear friends, we are sinners!

Just as Jesus is both all-loving and all-compassionate, only He can give us the grace to be like Him – loving and compassionate. This is because He is also the son of the living God. Just as He exuded love and compassion throughout his ministry, I too want to exude these features in my own ministry as I continue to serve you as your pastor so that I can influence your journey towards heaven as is my ultimate mission. I am aware that this is an ongoing process, but it is my hope that by His grace we will ultimately be able to reach heaven. In the meantime, please continue to pray for me and for my brother, Fr. Gabriel so that we may truly love you with compassion and serve you with dedication. And my own prayer for all of you is that you may continue to be in awe of Jesus who is truly present in the blessed Sacrament and devoted to our mother Mary who is always by His side interceding for us. May you fall in love with Jesus and Mother Mary over and over again as if your life depended on it…. because it does!

In closing, I look froward to the day you will look at me and be able to say: “There are two things I love about Fr. Robert: he loves like Jesus, and he is compassionate like Jesus.”

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, I love you!