March 14, 2018 - Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent – Don Vasco De Quiroga (1Isaiah 49:815; John 5:17-30)
The love of God our Father for us is clear and present in the redemption of Jesus Christ. There are two words that come to mind as I reflect on the readings we just heard today: one is Restoration and the other Resurrection, and these two words can be summarized into one: Redemption. When we speak of restoration, let’s say you want to restore a piece of art, you want to restore it to its original beauty. But when we speak of Resurrection, we speak about overcoming death, the triumph of Christ Jesus over darkness and death, and his loving invitation for us to have new life. So, Resurrection not only restores the original beauty in which God created us, but it gives us back our ultimate beauty in the new life we share in Christ, and that is Redemption. Redemption is Restoration and Resurrection at the same time. We are reminded of this great act of love as we celebrate this Lenten season. Jesus shows us the great love of the Father in his Passion and Resurrection. The Redemption of Jesus is a pure act of love for us his children.
We can see it in todays’ gospel when Jesus says that He and his Father are One, and that He can only do what his Father wants Him to do. “For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything that he himself does… for just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever He wishes… I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me." And the Prophet Isaiah invites us to rejoice because the LORD comforts his people and shows mercy to the afflicted. He says, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” He compares the love of a good mother with God’s love. God is love and He wants that all of us participate in that love in his Son Jesus; that is why Jesus comes to the world and shows the Love of God the Father with his works even on the Sabbath. The reaction of the people at that time did not stop Jesus from doing the will of God his Father, and this brought him to the Cross, but the Cross was never the end of the story.
Today, March 14, we remember a man who allowed himself to be filled with God’s love for his people, especially for people who were afflicted by oppression and injustice; and I am talking of the great bishop Don Vasco de Quiroga or “Tata Vasco” as he was known for his loving care and compassionate heart for the poor and vulnerable people. He was born in Spain, was a judge and was sent the New Spain (Mexico) for the audiences. But he was above all a man of God. Eventually, he became a Franciscan priest and later the first bishop of Michoacan in 1536. He built hospitals, cathedrals, schools and seminaries to take care of the needs of the native Mexicans and to educate and evangelize them in the love of Christ. His love for these people was obvious for he spoke up for them and defended them. It is believed that he was on a trip in Uruapan when he died on March 14, 1565; and his body was buried in Patzcuaro. Don Vasco de Quiroga’s legacy of love and compassion continues. This Lenten Season, we are invited to learn and live in God’s love, which restores us and brings us back to life in the risen Lord. Amen! Peace and blessings.