God’s Invitation to Love – Healing 2023


Fr. Jeronimo’s talk delves into the profound impact of past wounds on our perception of God and how relationships, both ordinary and significant, can serve as a source of healing.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?.”

Mt. 7:3.

1. Fr. Jeronimo says that many of the wounds in our lives stem from our relationships with our parents, and that these wounds can impact how we view God. Do you suffer any woundedness from past problems in the relationship with your parents? How might your relationship with your parents be affecting the way you view God right now?

2. God often heals us of our wounds through very ordinary means, such as through relationships with others. What relationships in your life have helped heal wounds in the past?

3. Just as we ourselves suffer from emotional wounds, so do many of the people around us. How can reflecting on your own woundedness change the way you see the behavior of others around you?

4. God calls us to love others, even when they annoy us, bother us, or hurt us. He calls us to show His tender love to others through the way we treat them. Who might God be calling you to love in this way in your life right now?

Text: God’s Invitation to Love

Hello, friends. My name is Father Jeronimo. Welcome to this talk where we will try to answer this question: Are we really known, seen and loved? Are we really good? But before we start, let us invoke the Holy Spirit to accompany us, okay? 

Come Holy Spirit

The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Come Holy Spirit. Come. Come Holy Spirit. Come. Come Holy Spirit. You’re welcome here. You’re expected here. Come and draw in us. We want to offer this time of prayer and learning as a gift so we can be closer to you. Come and accompany us during this talk so we may hear your gentle voice, a voice of healing and renewal. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

The Issue of Being Seen and Loved

Friends, if someone has a distorted image of God as someone who is constantly disappointed in them or angry at them, well, it could be challenging to come to know the Father, the merciful and loving. However, several examples from scripture demonstrate God’s mercy and love which can be help us to better understand the character that He has, right? And we will look to them later on. But for now, let me start by saying that the issue of being seen and loved is essential today. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a teenager because we think only this is for teenagers. No, no, no. We all suffer one way or the other with this issue. And you may wonder, “Why? What is that? Why is that? Is there something wrong with me? Am I doing something wrong? Am I not doing enough? Am I still in my teenage years?” 

No, no. Those questions are there for almost everyone regardless if you ask them consciously or unconsciously. We asked this because we were made to belong, to love, and to be loved. A conscious person will feel not enough or something like that while facing some specific situation and will immediately, or after a couple minutes, realizing that there’s something else happening in their hearts and maybe pinpointing it to something recent and know the reason. For the rest of us worlds, the task is much more arduous. But there is the spoiler alert. It shouldn’t be the heart if we let Jesus heal us. It is natural to feel that way. 

We all have wounds one way or another. We all have wounds because someone did something to us or because we are not the cause of the wound to someone. Regardless of who and how we are wounded, we’ll react to that based on our perceptions. People may call them biases but it is more a perception of reality. It is normal. It is shown in our brains, how our brains reacts, right? But being that standard or not normal means that we cannot reconfigure that in us, what happens in us, that we cannot do better, be better with the grace of God in our lives. He can heal us so we can be better and we can help people to be better. 

The Language of Faith Draws from Parents

The catechist of the Catholic Church states in number 239, “The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents who are in a way the first representatives of God for men. But this experiences also tells us that the human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood.” End quote. Now what I’m trying to illustrate here is that we often have this distorted image of God which comes from our wounds, from when we were kids and based on our relationship with our parents and that’s why we tend to walk wounded in our lives and there’s a big chance that we also wound people around us. Family, friends, co-workers, right? 

Restore His Image in Us

The same thing happens to all of us. God gave us the capacity to be aware, to change and love people the way they are. God is the only one capable of loving us and people the way they are. We’re just you and me. We’re just trying, right? But that trying is essential to the task at hand. The commandment is to be holy, perfect, as our Heavenly Father is. The world today will make you think the other one is the one with the issue, with the character that is always his fault and never ours. Before stepping into what we ought to do, I want to pause and talk about what God wants for us. What He wants is to restore His image in us and He does it in ordinary ways. Reprinting in us His love, kindness, and mercy. And His ordinary way is what are having new and free relationships with authorities and parental figures in our lives and with friends that show us what compassion, kindness, and tenderness. He also does it by healing relationships with our parents regardless if they have passed away or not. He heals us through relationship with friends and even though with friends or people that are difficult to us. 

Gospel of Matthew 7

In the Gospel of Matthew 7, Jesus talks about this: “Stop judging that you may not be judged. For as you judge you will be judged and the measure with which you measure will be the measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eyes but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first, right? Then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

Meaning the problems of the other ones are bigger and ours are not that big. But pay attention. If you notice, the issue here is the inability to see correctly. What we have in our eyes doesn’t let us see clearly. And I’m talking here literally, but think literally. If we had something bothering in our eyes, we wouldn’t be able to open our eyes properly much less look and see clearly. If that is in a literally way now change it into the spiritual realm. We couldn’t see the heart of the person in front of us. Knowing that, we’ll still decide to judge and affirm things of the actions of other people around us. 

People like you, like me, we are wounded and we act wounded, right? It is much easier to judge but we forget that that person in front of us is what? Is also a beloved child of God. Maybe the other person needs to experience God’s mercy not just once but several times, one after the other. That exercise what will stretch our capacity to love, to be merciful and that will impact the other one. And also at the end it will impact us and that’s something really important in our lives.

We Are The Face of God

Friends, we are the face of God, right? Not most of the time, but always we are His hands, right? And He wants to reach out people through us. Easier said than done. I know that, yeah? But we can strive to be better with the grace of God. We can change our environment and make it more what? Kingdom of Heaven, right? I want to illustrate this with scripture, right? Takes for example, Jesus appearing to His disciples after His resurrection, right? And we read this always during Easter. Can you imagine their faces when they saw Him? Right? Disciples seeing Him, Jesus again. The Gospel says that they were scared. And if you let me, I want to share a more familiar and sensory approach to their feeling with you. 

I have betrayed someone, right? Me, this disciple. I have betrayed someone. That someone being my most profound friend and master. I left Him, right? I deny Him. I sold Him. And then I got notice that He died and then He came back to life and He’s in front of me. What do you think is going on my head? “Well, it is reckoning day. He came to rub on my face everything, every wrongdoing, right? Everything that I just described, He’s going to say, ‘You did this, you did this, you did this.'” 

But no. Of course they were paralyzed. Wouldn’t you, right? But Jesus is the Son of God who just saved them and you and me. And He comes bears what? Gifts. “Peace be with you,” He says. And He repeats Himself three times. And when something is said three times in the Bible, scripture, it is meant to be. He not only does not to come to judge and to scold, but what? To bring His peace. He acts entirely different from how our instance would. That is the lesson for us, for you and for me, right? Is He acts completely different. He sees beyond. He sees our hearts. 

The Prodigal Son

Another passage that illustrates this point is the prodigal son, a well known parable for most of us. Just to recapitulate. A father has two sons and one decides to ask for his inheritance. He goes away from home and squanderers his money. How? Drinking, getting with prostitutes and everything, and so on. When facing hunger and desperation, he remembers that his father’s servants have everything. And then he what? He decided to run to his father’s house, but not without a plan. So he elaborates his speech, thinking it will trick to touch his father’s heart because what he has done is despicable. He basically killed his father by asking him to give him his inheritance. 

He plans it very carefully and he starts his journey back. He is not even close home, to the threshold of his father’s house, when what? When the father sees him in the distance and runs to him clothing him again with his love and mercy. Clothing him again with what? His dignity. His speech is worthless, right? Not because he is not unprepared but because he hasn’t realized that the father goodness and what he’s all about. And the father sees past his transgressions. He sees what he is and what he could be. And we are invited to do the same thing. 

Called to Face Our Realities

Friends, we are all called to do the same. To see past the offenses and weaknesses of our family members, co-workers, friend, people that we think are difficult or impossible. Everything would be much better if we walk like pilgrims on this life. Our way of responding to each situation is the only way, maybe the only way, they can come to know God the Father as merciful and loving. Jesus wants us to face our realities and weaknesses. Not for the sake of poking them and saying, “Oh, this is.” No, but to treat them, to heal them. It is an everyday struggle and that will take all our energy and focus but we are not alone in this task and in this endeavor. 

We have to be healed so we can help other people to be healed, right? Nonetheless, reality sometimes hit us like a train. When we don’t expect it we are already responding in unhealthy ways to our neighbor, right? Brokenness on ours. It is much easier to react even more if we are illustrated cable and catechize. We see the other with pride like it was less than us just because we are supposedly aware of his sins. And why not? His wounds. Have you prayed for those who are difficult to love, to treat, to be with? Isn’t that one of the seven works of mercy we’re invited? The issue here is what we can do not how can the other change and improve. The question to ponder is how He’s inviting me to love the other one? And through our healing actions towards the other, we can show him the tender face of Jesus. 

Maybe that person has never felt that in his life and maybe you and the approach you give, it is the only thing, right? Maybe no one else is praying for that person or offering masses. Please do so. Do that. And don’t get me wrong, those things are very good. Keep doing that, but it’s just not enough. We need to what? To approach people. We need to see beyond the action of people. Not just, “I’m going to pray for him and I’m just going to talk to him.” No, no, no. Pray, but talk to him. 

Let Him Take Care of You

The key idea is to care more about the person than what he did to me. Friends, the other day, I saw a pigeon, right? And I didn’t know where the pigeon came from but what I know is that it came inside my house and was scared trying to fly its way out of my house. An impossible job for it, for the pigeon. So what I tried to do was to rescue it, right? My intentions were good and noble but the pigeon didn’t know that so it fought me and quite a while, right? And me tried to save the pigeon. And the pigeon was running and flying like crazy all over the place. 

Then I said to myself, “Oh, this is a funny thing, right?” This pigeon is like me all scared, not knowing what’s happening, and thinking, “This crazy human wants to attack me or capture me.” Right? And then I said, “Okay, Jesus this is what Jesus want to try to do, right?” But oh no, I know better than Jesus. The reality is that God wants to take care of me and I’m jumping all over the place and not letting Him take care of me. I’m like that pigeon and God is like I was there, trying to protect it. The sad part is that the pigeon didn’t even realize the goodness of my act. Like a lot of times we don’t realize the goodness of God and how can God act through a lot of ways, right? We need to see past our actions and the actions of others. We could bring so much healing through our ways of loving, talking and acting. 

Yes, that is our way of living. Jesus can heal us through people and He can heal people through us. Let us give it a try every single day. So I encourage you friends to be aware of that, of what’s happening in our hearts, to how we are feeling maybe annoyed by the people we talk, we approach, how we think they’re difficult. 

I would encourage you friends to pray for them but also to make an effort to treat them in a different way that will make them feel the love of God in a very real way. And also go and dive into your own healing process because when you’re healed, you can act in a better way. In a very, yeah, in a healed way towards the other people so you can love them. Friends, God bless you.

About Father Jeronimo Espinosa

Fr. Jeronimo Espinosa Headshot Healing Retreat 2023

Father Jeronimo Espinosa is a Colombian priest. He is in love with Jesus Christ and His Church, and has decided to dedicate his life to serve its people. Before entering the seminary, he studied animal sciences. But after being ordained and getting a master’s degree in youth ministry at the University of Dallas, his passion and calling is to serve and accompany young people on their journey of healing and wholeness.