Concluding Remarks by Bishop Jaime Soto:
“Be merciful as your Father is merciful.” These are the words of the Lord Jesus to his disciples in the gospel according to Luke. This can be a high order or it can be the fortunate consequence of having been the object of His mercy. To know God’s mercy compels one to be merciful as He is merciful. To know His mercy is also to grasp the wisdom with which he mercifully cares for each one of His children.
The wisdom of the Christian gospel is that mercy has a face. God’s mercy was revealed face-to-face. That is perhaps our greatest challenge in being merciful as the Father, to do our work face-to-face. To see with each issue the face of our brothers and sisters. Mercy puts us in their place whether that be in the womb or the classroom, the hospital bed or under a homeless tarp, the unemployment line or at the border, those eager to cross the threshold of a new home or those fearful at the threshold to the hereafter, those trying to get into college or struggling to stay out of prison.
The wisdom of mercy is to act always face-to-face. The psalmist sing, “Let us see your face, O Lord, and we shall be saved.” (Ps. 80.20) May we seek His face in our fellow Californians as we begin this year’s work. In the face-to-face, God will save us all.
I, now, ask my companions in faith to join with me for the final prayer and blessing. Our closing prayer will be the interfaith prayer Pope Francis proposed at the conclusion of his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Sí.
Will all elected members of the State Government of California please stand at this time.