Christ used a parish priest from Uganda to show me what it looks like to love my brothers and sisters. I met Father B. shortly after I experienced a deeper conversion in my faith. During that beautiful process, the verse in today’s reading became far more evident in my life.
"For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith" (1 John 5:3-4).
Father B. proclaimed this truth from the pulpit. He had a booming voice that reverberated throughout our small church. His deep desire to see his flock grow in holiness was profound.
A few years later, Father B. was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. After giving us this news, an exuberant smile quickly spread across his face, and he began to preach the goodness of God. As the cancer continued to advance, causing Father B. tremendous suffering, he remained with his flock.
He said Masses, heard Confessions, dedicated every drop of energy he had to love the children of God around him. Father B. loved sacrificially and submitted his broken body, bearing the painful wounds of disease to the truth proclaimed by Jesus in today’s Gospel, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor" (Luke 4:18).
I must remind myself of this truth often. I must remind myself that Jesus is speaking this truth to me today, tomorrow, and forever. His promises do not lose power. Our faithfulness to His Commandments will conquer the temptations of this world.
The grace He pours out upon us through the Sacraments will strengthen us to love our brothers and sisters. Therefore, I pray that we lean into His Word. I pray that as beloved daughters we remain faithfully in love with our Lord and trust in His promises.
Stay close to the Sacraments, sister, and head in for the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week.
Leana Bowler is a wife and mother of five little ones. She is a Holy Rosary enthusiast with deep devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her love for the message of Divine Mercy led her to become a Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy dedicated to spreading Marian Consecration and the beauty of Christ's abundant Mercy. She enjoys finding the miracles in the mess of family life, books, strong coffee, and encountering others wherever they're at in this blessed journey to sainthood. You can find out more about her here.