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Faith Matters: God of love, God of mercy

  • The Rev. William Lunney, priest and pastor at St Joseph’s Parish in Shelburne Falls. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • William Lunney, Priest and Pastor at St Joseph's Parish in Shelburne Falls. Jan 2, 2019 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • William Lunney, Priest and Pastor at St Joseph's Parish in Shelburne Falls. Jan 2, 2019 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Priest and Pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, Shelburne Falls
Published: 1/14/2019 1:04:04 PM

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email

As we begin another new year, 2019, it is good to examine our lives anew and to make a fresh beginning, some resolutions. Socrates has reminded us that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” So often, we fall into ruts of living and thinking that go unchallenged — patterns of behavior and preconceived notions that are difficult to change. So, it is a good thing to periodically look at the foundations upon which our life is built.

Most important among these foundational pillars upon which the rest of the building rests is the very basic question of “Who am I?” and “What is the purpose and goal of my life here on earth?”

It should be obvious to all that how we answer these questions, consciously or unconsciously, has a determinative role in how we live our lives, interact with others, the direction of our lives.

Another very important question to be re-examined is “Who is God? What role does God play in my life?”

This is perhaps the most important question of all, since it directly influences our answer to “Who am I?” and “What is the purpose of my life?”

There are some who reject the very idea of “God” and others who are unsure of God’s existence or relevance in their lives. For still others, the life and teachings of Jesus Christ reveal vital information about God and the purpose of our lives. A disciple of Jesus, named John, wrote that “God is love.” While many reject ideas of God, few reject the reality of “love.” God is love and the source of all love in the human person.

If we can accept this understanding of God, then we can eliminate the fears that keep us from the God of love and mercy. We can eliminate the barriers we have created to protect our fragile ego from a power greater than us. We can have the courage to open the door of our inner soul, our inmost being, to love, mercy, forgiveness and healing.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with Him, and He with me.” (chapter 3, verse 20). Love, forgiveness, healing, made human flesh in Jesus Christ, seek entry into our hearts. Jesus is the human incarnation of the God of Pure Love.

Yet, in our pride and attachment to unhealthy ways of living, we resist opening the door, afraid of not being in control, not being my own God, unwilling to let go of obstacles and attachments that impede God’s entrance into our life and soul. This is the human drama. We all are engaged in this drama.

To the question, Who is God? We respond: “Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Understanding, Healing.” To the question, “Who am I?”, we respond is “A human created by the God of love and made in His own image.” We are created to be human agents of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and healing. This is our identity. To the extent that we are humans of love and mercy, we fulfill our identity, and our purpose here on earth. This gives our lives a beautiful meaning and goal. We are called to create communities, civilizations of love.

This new year let us look again at the age-old questions regarding our purpose here on earth — what our identity really is, and Who God is.

God is love. We are created by God to give love and receive love. That is who we are; that is the purpose of our lives. To fulfill this mission of love, to be who we truly are, we must connect with the God of love and remain connected. This year, let us resolve to love one another and to connect with the God of love, and build communities of Love and Caring.

About St. Joseph Parish

Established in 1883, the parish consists of St. Joseph Church in Shelburne Falls, St. Christopher Mission in Charlemont and St. John the Baptist Mission in Colrain. The parish supports the Hilltown Food Pantry, Good Neighbors Food Pantry, West County Food Pantry, Western Mass. Food Bank, Heifer International, The Haitian Project and Alternatives Pregnancy Center. The parish also has its own Food Pantry, operated by their Youth Ministry, for parishioners. Our Outreach Ministry visits the ill and homebound.

Knights of Columbus Trinity Council #16354 meets the fourth Tuesday of Every month at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. For more information and schedule of masses, call 413-625-6405, email or visit

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