On April 23, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, Archbishop Gomez celebrated a prayer service for young adults at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The event was part of the ongoing celebrations of the jubilee year marking the 250th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel by St. Junípero Serra. The following is adapted from the archbishop’s reflection on the wounds of Christ during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
In the quiet of this evening, inside these cathedral doors, we gather. Just as his disciples gathered in that upper room, in those first evenings after Easter.
As the Gospel tells us: “Where the disciples were … Jesus came and stood in their midst.”
This is the beautiful reality of our lives. We are his disciples now — born out of time, as St. Paul used to say. And tonight, Jesus comes to be where his disciples are.
Standing before us, Our Lord speaks of peace. “Peace be with you,” he says.
Peace. In this time of war in Ukraine, and when there is violence and injustice in so many different parts of the earth.
Peace. In this time of bitterness and insecurity, with so many divisions in our society.
Peace, when so many of our neighbors’ hearts are troubled and afraid.
Into these times, into this place, through every locked door, Jesus comes. Nothing can stop his desire to be where his disciples are. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Jesus is with us tonight and he shows us his hands and his side.
We look upon him whom they have pierced, and we see: This is how much he loves us. This is the price he was willing to pay. For us.
By his precious wounds — the great story of God’s mercy was written.
In the presence of his holy wounds, he calls to us, as he did to St. Thomas: “Do not be unbelieving, but believe!”
My brothers and sisters, on that Easter night so many centuries ago, the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. And so should we, on this night.
So, let us say tonight with St. Thomas: “My Lord and my God.”
“My Lord and my God” means this: I will follow you, I will serve you. With your help, I will love as you show me how to love; I will live for others, as you lived for others.
“Peace be with you,” Jesus tells us tonight. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
My brothers and sisters, our faith in Jesus Christ gives our lives a mission.
It is the same mission that the Father gave to Jesus and that Jesus gave to his apostles. It is the same mission that caused St. Junípero Serra and his brothers to leave their homes and families to bring the Christian faith to Los Angeles and California, 250 years ago.
Now, in this jubilee year, Jesus Christ is sending us out once again — you and I — to continue his mission in our times. He is sending us out to bring his peace, his good news, and his life to our world.
In a special way, he is sending us out to be peacemakers. This is the true vocation of the children of God and, of course, each of us is a child of God by our baptism.
We know that by his precious wounds, Jesus Christ has made all humanity one family — brothers and sisters, children of the same Father in heaven. No matter what the color of our skin, the language that we speak, or the place that we are born.
Jesus is sending us out to carry this good news into the world. Beginning in our homes, our schools, our neighborhoods, our parishes.
We ask for the grace to strengthen our faith in his real presence among us. He is here tonight, in his body and blood, in his soul and divinity. He is as truly present with us as he was when St. Thomas put his finger into the nail marks and his hand into his side.
Jesus has risen, and he walks with us! We should never forget that. Jesus goes with us in all our hopes and in all the struggles of our daily lives.
Let us walk with Jesus now and live like Jesus and love like Jesus. And let us light up this world by our joy, by our love!
Let us go forward in mission, walking in his footsteps with joy, and proclaiming his gospel of peace.
May Holy Mary, mother of the Church, protect and guide us, and keep us always close to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.