Where Baking Bread Restores Lost Futures!
Have you ever heard of Home Boy Industries Bakery? Fr. Greg Boyle, a Los Angeles Jesuit, founded this bakery to assist former L. A. gang members ridding themselves of the gang culture that held such power over them in their youth. Fr. Greg is extremely generous in his show of forgiveness to all who come to Homeboy for help. If they come, he accepts and embraces them. Fr. Greg’s mercy is not just words, but acts of kindness and warm hearted love. He immediately gives them responsible jobs in the bakery, and encouraging words “to get on with your lives.” For Father Greg, Home Boy Baking Industries makes mercy wholesome, while baking wholesome bread!
But many ex-gang members find it difficult to forget their past. They often feel overwhelmed by the ruin and damage their past choices have caused which gives them a strong sense of guilt. And they feel unworthy to accept the peace and forgiveness Jesus offers them.
Father Greg understands, but tenderly reminds them “that God already accepts them as His own, even if they cannot accept God’s outstretched hands. God simply wants them here “found” and not out there “lost.”
What Father Greg is saying, by his actions--is that despite their guilt feelings, God’s mercy restores their future that past life wrong choices have denied them. God’s mercy, which Jesus offers, wipes away their past, leaving them with hope instead of self-pity.
When mercy arrives in our lives, we are restored as God’s beloved child. Our lives and what we now do continue to build God’s Kingdom. In fact, this is the future we all share when we open ourselves to God’s mercy.
On a daily basis, we have splendid opportunities to use the gifts God’s mercy has liberated. Now how wholesome is that? And like the workers at Homeboy Baking Industries, “we too, can now get on with our lives!”