Redwood Journal

Writings by Harry Martin, Permanent Deacon.


fears conquered

Entering His Wounds

Contemporary rendition of Carraviggio’s “Doubting Thomas” painted by: John Granville Gregory

The door is locked. Fear has them bound, hidden away in a room.

This Second Sunday of Easter, also recognized as Divine Mercy Sunday, we return to the followers of Christ. On Easter Sunday our joyful songs express our faith in our Risen Savior and Lord. Today we find the disciples where we too may be at times in our life, locked away in our fears.
Of what are you afraid? Yes we profess our faith in Christ, yet, sadly, we sometimes place more faith in our doubts and fears than in Him. We focus on failures, real or feared of others, or ourself. Fears and doubts of health, or economic well-being, relationships, careers, families, our Church, all may well bring us to be locked in darkened rooms of doubt and fear. Where is our faith? In our fears and doubts or in Him who conquered fear, doubt, sin and death?

It is easy to sing, to say we believe. We may well express our amen’s and alleluia’s yet when we leave the church and return to the rooms of our lives we may once again find our life locked in fear and doubt. Is there really any hope? How can we know true freedom from that which we fear, from the doubts that would cripple our souls and our lives. This Sunday of Divine Mercy, we find in God’s word the true and practical way to that freedom as we heed Christ’s Words and enter His Wounds we will enter into His Holy love by which all fear and doubts is conquered.

The voices of fear, the messages of doubts are loud and abundant. The cacophony of noise from this world composed by the dark prince of fear and despair is always available to fuel our fear and renew our doubts. Yet the Prince of Peace can enter the darkest of doubts, the rooms of fiercest fear and in His noble voice of holy love proclaim His Peace in our midst and in our hearts. We have the ability to seek to call upon Jesus to enter our hearts, our homes, our most difficult places and to guide us to His Peace. No dark voice of fear or doubt can overcome Him who proclaims His holy peace that conquered the powers and places of hell itself. From the cacophony of darkness we can enter hear the symphony of grace of which we all are called to join His holy angels in songs of hope, mercy and joy. As we seek, as we heed His Words of peace, mercy, healing and hope we will find Him guiding us closer to His Presence. We will experience Jesus the Truth that sets us free.

Out of the dark rooms of our fears and doubts the Risen Christ calls and leads us to..Himself. It is in His Presence we, along with the early disciples, can see His wounds, like Thomas himself we can touch and enter into the very wounds of Christ. While it is true we may not physically see Jesus as did the disciples in Scripture we can know His very real blessing He gave all who were not there, the blessing to see Him, and enter His wounds with eyes of faith. It is as His nail-scared hands touch our soul that we then can see Him, His wounds in others, in each other, in the needy, in the suffering of all creation as we await the return of our Savior and Lord. It is in our own brokenness we can enter His wounds as well. It is also in the simple places of prayer, during Mass, before the Blessed Sacrament, in the prayer closets of our life that God can call and bring us to enter into His presence, His wounds and find the hope, the freedom to believe and follow Him in the power of the Risen Christ.

From the locked room of fear we discover His voice proclaiming His peace, we draw close to Him, we see, we touch, we enter into His wounds, we enter into His Love by which all fear and doubt is conquered.

Cyber-version of my homily for the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. Mass Readings: Reading I: Acts 2:42-47; Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 118:2-4,13-15,22-24; Reading II: I Pet. 1;3-9; Gospel: John 20:19-31


Here is the cyberversion of my homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent:
{Readings for Mass: II Sam. 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14a-16; Ps. 89:2-3,4-5,27,29; Rom. 16:25-27; Lu.1:26-38}

This season of Advent draws to a close. May it also draw us closer to Immanuel, God with us. This has been a year of profound stress and loss for many people. The commercially traditional experiences of Christmas are probably much subdued.
It is, however an opportunity to realize and experience the security, the love and mercy of God. Found in the Christ-child may we allow the infinite, yet simple love of God befriend and bless as we share..Immanuel, God with us.

David, shepherd and faithful king,
would in his cedar palace sing,
Praise, prayers
to his God
he would bring.

A life of struggle and of fear,
wilderness days,
watered with his tears.
Later years
as reigning king,
would he know
sin’s cruel sting.

Yet through the years, David, king,
Praise and prayers
to God would bring.
In cedar palace David dwelt.
But in God’s tent
David knelt.
David longed,
planned to build,
for God,
his friend,
a temple true.

David’s plans,
exchanged by God.
Who’s eternal love foresaw
and in prophets words did speak,
of the coming King of Kings,
of the holy Prince of Peace.

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Mary troubled with angelic words.
Pondered what within her stirred.
What was said,
fears voices told,
was impossible
and left her cold.

Angel’s eyes,
Mary’s soul did see.
And with God’s love
fears cold words
made flee.
‘Be not afraid,
your fears to face.
Be not afraid,
with love
courage take.

Mary to Elizabeth went.
in her womb
God’s Son was sent.
David’s promise
within her dwelt.
And in Elizabeth womb,
her infant felt.

God has come, Immanuel.
God has favored,
With us to dwell.
Mary among women,
you are favored.
You bring to us
our long sought Savior.

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Ages flow and so today,
Skeptics smirk and boldly say:
‘Where is God, this Immanuel?
Why this foolish homage pay?
Why this faith just look around?
Greed and hate,
fears abound.
A war on terror,
fueled by oil’s
crude creed.
Economic woes,
jobs and homes
do bleed.
Securities lost.
Insecurities abound.
Even while
in politics words
for hope,
for change,
many scrounge.

Immanuel you sing?
God with us you believe?
Yet how amidst this strife,
can God’s love
or hope be seen?

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Immanuel God is with us.
David’s promised King does reign.
Immanuel God is with us.
When Christ’s love
within our soul does reign.

Mary’s choice to believe
from all fear did her free.
Mary’s yes to God,
to our wounded world
does bring
holy friendship with
Christ the Savior
Loving friendship
with Christ the King.

Immanuel ,
be with us.
Prince of Peace,
do come.
In the stable of our needs,
be incarnate,
God’s holy Son.

As with Elizabeth,
welcoming your mother.
As with the needy,
who is our brother.
May we see.
May we care.
May we share

With deeds
with words,
we dare to face
this world’s
fear and doubt,
greed and hate.

With truth in love,
God’s hope and peace,
with Heaven’s joy,
as angels speak,

we ask,

Be with soldiers
in desert tasks.
With courage kind
may they find
Your love to heal
their scars in time.

Be with the homeless,
on the streets,
may they find
Your joy and hope.
In warmth and peace
in places where you keep.

The sick, the lonely,
aged, frail,
Immanuel , God,
with them dwell.
By our words,
with our deeds,
May all these souls
Your love to speed.

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

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