-EXCELLENT website recommendation Catholics Come Home with a MUST WATCH 2-minute video
- The Church speaks in quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in every e-weekly (in green).
-Divine Mercy and Last Hope of Salvation-Expansion of the Divine Mercy message for our world today (end of e-weekly)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
DIVINE MERCY Novena
"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him,
because he always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7:25
A VERY BLESSED AND HAPPY EASTER! However, looking into the Easter Season, the Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, an unfathomable gift of God that is explained in more detail at the end of this e-weekly. From Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday Jesus asked that a special novena (see term below) be offered which I include below in this week's e-mail.
We say we always want to do what God wants us to do; well this Novena makes God's will clear. We are to pray, obtain mercy, and be vessels of Mercy for these individuals especially listed in these 9-days of prayer, which is being perpetually offered at the above shrine.
Look over and please pray this novena, learn more about it and Divine Mercy! If things in the world and our lives seem to only be getting worse sometimes, then let us finally be convinced that only God can truly change me, change our lives, and change the world!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. >>> Readings
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- nine days of prayer for some intention or occasion
[Its origin goes back to the nine days that the Disciples and Mary spent together in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit. In modern times the one before Pentecost was prescribed for parochial churches.]
Divine Mercy Novena (from Latin divinus "god, godly" + from Latin merces "price paid" = "price paid by God"; from Latin novéna "nine each" feminine use of singular of novenas; novem "nine")
- nine days of prayer from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter) in which special prayers are offered for special intentions revealed Jesus to all through St. Faustina Maria Kowalska
Divine Mercy (from Latin divinus "god, godly" + from Latin merces "price paid" = "price paid by God")
- the unfathomable ready willingness of God, Who feels sympathy for us, to reconcile the sinner; that which was revealed to all through St. Faustina Maria Kowalska
Divine Mercy Sunday (see above and from Old English sunnandæg, trans. of Latin diés sōlis "day of the sun")
- Second Sunday of Easter so named by Pope John Paul II in 2000 A.D.
"My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way you will console My Heart" (Words of Jesus to St. Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 367).
- DO NOT drive where the water is over the roads. Parts of the road may already be washed out.
- If your car stalls in a flooded area, DO NOT remain in the car. Abandon it as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding. DO NOT try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees. You could be swept away by strong currents.
- DO NOT sight-see in flooded areas and do not make unnecessary trips. Use the telephone only for emergencies or to report dangerous conditions.
"The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus. Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the "blessed hope" of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the "holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #2016
Have you been away from the Catholic Faith? Do you know those who have or have family members who no longer practice? This website is for you and them! You can go to the above website to view and play an audio and visual introduction or go here: http://catholicscomehome.org/ for a personalized encounter. Catholic or not, practicing or not be sure to click here and watch this 2 minute video:
***WATCH ----> http://www.catholicscomehome.org/our-evangomercials/ <---- THIS***
Click on English Version in middle of page
Catholics Come Home is an independent, non-profit charity started and supported by a number of Catholic families and individuals. They began this ministry to welcome back those who have left the Church, for whatever reasons. The apostolate utilizes the media to inspire, educate and evangelize inactive Catholics and others, and invite them to live a deeper faith in Jesus Christ, in accord with the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
ACI Prensa Staff, Apr 13, 2023 / 16:00 pm
On Resurrection Sunday, April 9, the Christ of Peace statue was dedicated in Tabasco county in Zacatecas state, Mexico. The monumental sculpture which sits atop a pedestal measures 108 feet high, which makes it the largest of its kind in the country.
The statue stands in the center of the esplanade atop “Faith and Religion Hill.”
Present at the dedication were the governor of Zacatecas state, David Monreal Ávila; the president of Tabasco county, Gil Martínez; and the pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the town of Tabasco, Father Luis Manuel Luévano Díaz.
According to the Christ of Peace Facebook page, the priest blessed the sculpture and gave a message of faith and hope to the thousands of faithful present.
In an interview with Reporte Índigo, Miguel Romo, the artist who created the statue, said it took more than two years to be completed.“If you look, the face is very nicely done. The Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil is very beautiful, but it’s a bit geometrical, with its hands, face, and everything. Not me. I tend to be very realistic, and it’s very difficult at this scale; small scale is very easy, but on this scale it’s very difficult,” the artist explained.
The image was made with steel and various types of polymers. Inside the sculpture there is a staircase and four landings as well as lookouts for visitors.
The sculpture was named Christ of Peace because after its dedication its promoters want tranquility to come to the inhabitants of Zacatecas, a state plagued by organized crime violence.
Some claim that the Christ of Peace sculpture in Mexico is larger than the Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. However, the image in Rio de Janeiro is 98 feet tall with a 26-foot pedestal, whereas the one dedicated in Zacatecas is 98 feet tall with a 10-foot pedestal.
The largest sculpture of Jesus is that of Christ the King, located in Świebodzin, Poland, with a height of 118 feet, followed by the Christ of Concord in Cochabamba, Bolivia, at 112 feet.
Another image of Jesus that exceeds 98 feet in height is Christ the Redeemer of Tihuatlan in Veracruz state, Mexico, at 103 feet.
Currently, the Christ the Protector statue, which will measure 141 feet, is under construction in Brazil.
After a lengthy process, former St. Peter Middle School students secured a patent for their 2016 school project, “The Friendchip.” The product, created by the school’s “Brickbusters” robotics team, is a microchip programmed to assist pets in communicating with their owners.
The idea for the project developed in August 2016 when students brainstormed ideas to develop an invention that would help animals and people for the First Lego League Animal Allies Challenge of the year.
Team members included Hannah Schulgen, Avonna Niegelsen, Sarah Scanlan, Olivia Sween, (veteran members) Lucy Schrieber, Mary Schieber, Brietta Coen and Aidan Coen.
While developing their idea, the students participated in extensive community volunteer work and met three times a week to develop the microchip. They traveled to Marquette University to meet with biomedical engineering students to learn how to research and visited MSOE to learn about soldering circuit boards. They visited an animal sanctuary to study animals and prosthetics, and Lakeland Animal Shelter about the veterinary needs of the animals in the shelter. They also interviewed Dr. Bob Korman, Milwaukee County Zoo veterinarian, to understand the challenges of working with larger animals and toured Lake Geneva Animal Hospital to learn about small animal needs and challenges.
Following the animal research, the students visited the Nano Lab at UW-Madison to grasp the concept of microchips’ minute parts and learn how to create a product to monitor animal health systems and send updates to veterinarians from pet owners’ homes.
After the chip — which can sense temperature, blood sugar and movement — was completed, the team participated in several competitions, ultimately placing in the top three of 32,000 teams in the St. Louis World Lego League Tournament.
Realizing they were on to something, the team wanted to pursue a patent and reached out to Nicholas Zepnick, a patent attorney with Foley and Lardner, LLP. After Zepnick and his colleague Arthur Siebel met with students, they surprised students with a pro bono offer to help them secure the patent.
Mary Schrieber is grateful to have the patent, especially after she didn’t think the project would ever come to fruition. The East Troy High School senior attended St. Peter’s Parish School from pre-K through eighth grade. She was a member of St. Peter’s first Lego League team for many years, in addition to the 2017 patent team.
“Finally, being approved for this patent makes me and the rest of the Brickbuster team incredibly grateful and proud. After five years and two failed attempts, it was looking less and less likely that we would be able to call ourselves official inventors,” she said. “After the second denial, the team even considered retracting our application. When our amazing lawyers, Nick Zepnick and Arthur Siebel, reached out to us that our patent had gone through, we were completely ecstatic. I remember rushing to our team group chat as soon as I read the email and calling some of my teammates.”
Now that the patent is official, Schrieber explained that the team decided to motivate other students by advocating for other youth in STEM by sharing their story.
“Hopefully, our experience will inspire other young entrepreneurs to pursue their own ideas,” she said. “In regards to the patent itself, we plan to continue slowly sharing our invention with the professionals we meet at our respective universities while we all pursue our own education and careers. While we don’t have any specific goals for it, we hope that, someday, the networks we form will help us make our patent a reality.”
Olivia Sween is a senior at Mukwonago High School and was a part of First Lego League for four years. She said she learned that children are as capable as adults in changing the world and making their impact.
“The patent is a physical representation of resilience, creativity, hard work and the power of the adolescent mind,” Sween said. “I am so grateful to Foley for taking on this project on a pro bono basis and for continually supporting our team for the past five years of the process.”
Pope Francis at the Regina Coeli: ‘Never Tire of Seeking the Risen Christ’
Pope Francis said Monday that Christians should “never tire of seeking the risen Christ.”
Speaking before the recitation of the Regina Coeli April 5, the pope noted that Easter Monday is known in Italy as Lunedì dell’Angelo, or the Monday of the Angel.
Referring to the Gospel reading (Matthew 28:1-15) in which Mary Magdalene and the other Mary encountered an angel at the empty tomb while looking for Jesus, he observed that the angel greeted the women with the words “Do not be afraid.”
“We can reap a precious teaching from the angel’s words: we should never tire of seeking the risen Christ who gives life in abundance to those who meet him,” he said.
The pope gave his address in the library of the Apostolic Palace due to coronavirus restrictions. Italy entered a three-day nationwide lockdown on Saturday. Easter Monday -- also known in Italy as La Pasquetta, or “Little Easter” -- marked the final day of the lockdown, which the authorities hope will help to reduce a third wave of the virus.
Standing beneath Pietro Perugino’s painting of the Resurrection, Pope Francis recalled the angel’s next words to the women: “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.”
He commented: “This expression ‘He has risen’ goes beyond human capacity. Even the women who had gone to the tomb and had found it open and empty could not confirm ‘He has risen,’ but they could only say that the tomb was empty.”
“‘He has risen’ is a message… Only an angel could say that Jesus had risen, only an angel with the authority to be the bearer of a heavenly message, with the power given by God to say it, just as an angel -- only an angel -- had been able to say to Mary: ‘You will conceive a son, [….] and he will be called the Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:31-32).”
The pope pointed out that in St. Matthew’s account there was a “great earthquake” as the angel rolled back the stone at the entrance to Jesus’ tomb and sat upon it.
“That large stone, that was supposed to be the seal of the victory of evil and death, was put underfoot, it becomes the footstool of the angel of the Lord. All of the plans and defenses of Jesus’ enemies and persecutors were in vain. All the seals had crumbled,” he said.
“The image of the angel sitting on the stone before the tomb is the concrete manifestation, the visible manifestation of God’s victory over evil, the manifestation of Christ’s victory over the prince of this world, the manifestation of the victory of light over darkness.”
Vatican City, Apr 6, (EWTN News/CNA)
Hundreds of Pope Francis' missionaries of mercy are gathering at the Vatican in coming days for formation and fellowship, for the first time since their mandate was extended at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy.
It has been two years since the missionaries were first commissioned on Ash Wednesday 2016 during the jubilee, and it has been nearly 18 months since the pope extended their mandate at the close of the holy year, allowing them to continue hearing confessions freely in every diocese throughout the world and lifting censures - ecclesiastical penalties - that normally require the permission of the pope.
The missionaries, who number over 1,000 and come from all over the world, have spent much of the past two years working to spread the message of God's mercy and forgiveness through their daily activities and ministries, including talks, retreats, and social communications. An emphasis on confession is central to their work, which many of the missionaries say is greatly needed.
“I'm very grateful the Holy Father has continued our mandate, because not only is it needed, but also, it's a joy to do this work as a priest,” Fr. John Mary Devaney told EWTN News April 6.
He said the missionaries originally got a letter informing them that their mandate would end with the close of the Jubilee of Mercy, and were surprised and delighted when Pope Francis published a letter the day after the end of the holy year saying their ministry would be extended.
Devaney said the majority of American Catholics he meets do not go to confession regularly. But when he has heard the confession of someone who has been away for decades, the experience is largely life-changing for the penitent.
The encounter with God’s mercy in a new or forgotten way is so powerful, he said, that “I have no doubt that they will continue to go to confession again.”
Devaney, who comes from the Archdiocese of New York, hosts the weekly program Word to Life on SiriusXM radio, and is just one of some 600 Missionaries of Mercy expected to come to Rome for an April 8-11 meeting focused on spiritual formation and building fellowship.
During the meeting, missionaries will have the opportunity to go to confession themselves and listen to talks dedicated to themes relevant to their ministry, such as confession as a sacrament of mercy, and sin and mercy in the life of the priest.
The event will open April 8 with Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, which the missionaries will concelebrate alongside Pope Francis.
They will hear talks from Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Archbishop Rino Fisichella, prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization; and Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, secretary for the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
The missionaries’ work was placed under the jurisdiction of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, from which they receive instruction and ongoing communication throughout the year.
According to Msgr. Graham Bell, an official working with the council, the main idea for the event is that it offer “ongoing formation” to the missionaries.
“It's about the exercise of your ministry as Missionaries of Mercy. So it's understanding how mercy works, how it functions in the life of persons, and in the life of priests,” he told EWTN News April 5, adding that the scope is simply “to make them better at what they do.”
What the council wants from the missionaries, he said, is to place a strong emphasis on the sacrament of confession, and to promote their ministry through specific activities, particularly during major liturgical seasons such as Lent and Advent.
And with no clear end in sight to the missionary mandate, Bell said the idea is to continue having meetings on a regular basis to offer formation and time to share stories. So far, from the feedback the council has received, the missionaries “have a very, very strong impact,” he said.
For Fr. Roger Landry, a missionary of mercy who works for the Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in New York, the ministry of mercy is always needed in the Church, but is especially crucial in the modern global context.
Landry told EWTN News that both St. John Paul II and Pope Francis have emphasized that “we are living in a 'kairos of mercy,' a time in which God’s loving forgiveness is especially crucial.”
This, he said, is because “we’re living at a time in which unexpiated guilt is wreaking so much havoc.”
“After two World Wars and the Cold War, the Holocaust, the genocides in Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, after so many atrocities from tyrannical governments, after the waterfalls of blood flowing from more than two billion abortions worldwide, after the sins that have destroyed so many families, after so much physical and sexual abuse, after lengthy crime logs in newspapers every day, after the scourge of terrorism, after so much hurt and pain, the terrible weight of collective guilt crushes not only individuals but burdens structures and whole societies.”
The modern world, he said, is like “one big Lady Macbeth, compulsively washing our hands to remove the blood from them, [but] there is no earthly detergent powerful enough to take the blemishes away.”
People can speak to psychiatrists and psychologists, but their words and advice can only help deal with guilt, “not eliminate it,” Landry said.
“We can confess ourselves to bartenders, but they can only dispense Absolut vodka, not absolution, and inebriation never brings expiation.”
There is also the attempt by many to try to escape reality through “distractions and addictions” such as sports, drugs, entertainment, food, power, materialism, lust and many other things, Landry said, but stressed that none of this “can adequately anesthetize the pain in our soul from the suffering we’ve caused or witnessed.”
“We’re yearning for a second, third or seventy-times-seventh chance. We’re pining for forgiveness, reconciliation, and a restoration of goodness. We’re hankering for a giant reset button for ourselves and for the world.”
Landry said his mandate has also impacted his work at the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the U.N., much of which is already dedicated to the works of mercy, such as caring for the poor, defending the vulnerable, feeding the hungry and seeking to provide education and care for those suffering due to war.
In addition to his work at the U.N., Landry said bishops have also sought him out and asked him to come to their dioceses to speak and hear confessions, and “thanks be to God, there has been a lot of fruit.”
Similarly, Fr. John Paul Zeller, a friar with the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and a missionary of mercy from Birmingham, Ala., said he has had the opportunity to travel around the United States and offer talks and retreats centered on mercy, and has seen enormous fruits.
One of the things he has emphasized the most is reaching out to people who have been far from the Church or who have had a bad experience in confession, and have either left the Church or refused to go back to the sacrament as a result.
In comments to EWTN News, Zeller noted that when they were first commissioned in 2016, Pope Francis told them that people had been “lambasted” at times by priests in the confessional, and that this experience did a lot of damage.
“I really took that to heart,” Zeller said, explaining that there have been multiple times he has stood in front of a group and apologized for these bad experiences, saying “if anybody here has had a bad experience in the confessional, from childhood until now, I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ, I beg you in Jesus' name and as a representative of our Holy Father, I beg your forgiveness.”
The results have been profound, not only in people returning to the sacrament, but in those seeking him out for spiritual advice or guidance.
“So many people are starving for a shepherd, starving for someone to show them love, show them that they care and to listen to them,” he said, adding that “it's been such a privilege” to be put into situations where he is able to offer help to a person in real need.
However, Zeller stressed that mercy doesn't mean a lack of justice. These two virtues, he said, are not opposed, but rather, according to the logic of God, they are “the same thing.”
“Sometimes we come across as thinking mercy is just being all sappy and not firm with people and not clear with people…. [But] when we're exercising mercy, we need to exercise the virtue of justice too.”
In addition to talks and retreats, Fr. Devaney has turned to media to get the message of mercy out.
Though his primary ministry is carried out at a hospital, Devaney said that he and another missionary of mercy – Nigerian Fr. Augustine Dada, who is currently one of the missionaries serving in New York – decided to offer a special program dedicated to mercy on his SiriusXM radio show for Lent.
Looking forward, the missionaries voiced hope that a full list of all the Missionaries of Mercy would be made public so that people would know where to find one if needed.
They also expressed a desire for additional instruction on the technicalities of how to lift censures - penalties for certain delicts, or canonical “crimes” - which they have been given the faculty to remit. Some of the missionaries said they are uncertain about the process for remitting those penalties.
The missionaries were initially given the faculty to remit penalties for four of these types of delicts: profaning the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose; the use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff; the absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment, (“thou shalt not commit adultery”) and, in limited circumstances, a direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.
In an April 2017 letter confirming their mandate, the pope added an additional delict to the list, allowing the missionaries to remit the penalty associated with recording what a priest or penitent says in confession, and the diffusion of that the recording online.
Fr. Zeller told EWTN News that while he was in Rome for the commissioning of the missionaries during the jubilee, he was able to visit the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court dealing with some cases of excommunication and with matters addressed in confession, where he got an explainer from an official on how remitting censures works.
For more than an hour, “I asked questions upon questions, and we went over the different censures,” Zeller said, adding that “to see how the Church deals with them and how much the Church deals with the salvation of souls was astounding to me.”
“I came away from there with a renewed sense of how much the Church cares about the soul,” he said, explaining that when the Penitentiary gets an inquiry from a priest involving a delict that incurred automatic excommunication, a response, remission, and penance are sent back within 24 hours.
“Nothing happens that quickly in the Church, nothing,” he continued. “Everything, on every level of the Church, everything takes so long...but when it comes to sin, when it comes to that restoring people to grace...I am just so grateful for...how much the Church cares about the salvation of souls.”
A response is “sent out in less than 24 hours. That's saying a lot,” Zeller emphasized. He said he has had the opportunity to explain the process to other priests, and hopes that in the future, better formation will be offered in seminaries for how to handle these delicts if they are confessed.
However, while remitting censures is a part of their mandate, the missionaries agreed that it is not the most important part.
Fr. Devaney told EWTN News that the circumstances that incur censures are rare, and that while they have been given the faculty to remit them, “the core and heart of what [Pope Francis] wants is for us to just go and renew Catholics, in particular, with God's mercy.”
"Today's liturgy teaches us that the Lord has not saved us by his triumphal entry or by means of powerful miracles," the Pope said March 20.
Instead, in the day's second reading from St. Paul to the Philippians, the apostle "epitomizes in two verbs the path of redemption: Jesus 'emptied' and 'humbled' himself."
These two verbs, Francis said, "show the boundlessness of God's love for us. Jesus emptied himself: he did not cling to the glory that was his as the Son of God, but became the Son of man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet he was without sin."
Jesus chose to take on the condition of a servant rather than that of a king or a prince, the Pope observed, adding that "the abyss" of Jesus' humiliation seems to be "bottomless" as Holy Week approaches.
However, just as he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, Jesus also wants to enter our lives and cities in the same way, Francis said. "He comes to us in humility; he comes in the name of the Lord."
Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square for his Palm Sunday Mass.
Before opening the celebration, he blessed the palms used in the day's liturgy from the obelisk in St. Peter's Square, and led a procession up to the main altar.
After listening to the lengthy account of Jesus' Passion and Death from the Gospel of Luke, Francis told attendees that the first sign of Jesus' humble and endless love in Holy Week is expressed in the washing of his disciples' feet on Holy Thursday.
By washing their feet, Jesus shows us by example "that we need to allow his love to reach us, a love which bends down to us," he said.
"We cannot do any less, we cannot love without letting ourselves be loved by him first, without experiencing his surprising tenderness and without accepting that true love consists in concrete service."
However, Francis noted that this act is "only the beginning," and that Jesus' humiliation reaches its climax during his Passion, when he is sold for 30 pieces of silver and betrayed by the kiss of a man whom he had chosen and called as his disciple, and whom he called a friend.
In addition to Judas' betrayal, Jesus is abandoned by nearly all the rest of his disciples, he is denied by Peter three times, and is humiliated by mockery, spitting, insults and physical beatings.
Jesus "suffers in his body terrible brutality: the blows, the scourging and the crown of thorns make his face unrecognizable," the Pope said, noting how Jesus was also shamed by the condemnation of religious and political leaders.
In being sent from Pilate to Herod and then back to the Roman governor, Jesus experiences indifference "in his own flesh," because "no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate," Francis observed.
Even the crowd, who had previously welcomed him, call for his crucifixion and ask that a murderer be released instead, the Pope recalled. This then leads to Jesus' death in the "most painful form of shame" intended for traitors, slaves and the worst of criminals.
However, as if his isolation, defamation and pain weren't enough, Jesus takes it a step further, Pope Francis said, explaining that in order to be in complete solidarity with man, "he also experiences on the Cross the mysterious abandonment of the Father."
Jesus faces his final temptation while hanging from the Cross, when he is challenged to come down and save himself. Though instead of giving in, the Lord entrusts himself to his Father in order to conquer evil for good and show the face "of a powerful and invincible God," he said.
Francis explained that even at "the height of his annihilation, (Jesus) reveals the true face of God, which is mercy," by forgiving those who crucify him, moving the heart of the centurion and promising paradise to the repentant thief.
"If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell," the Pope said.
Jesus, he added, "takes upon himself all our pain that he may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred."
Pope Francis concluded his homily by noting how God's way of acting seems to be distant from our own, since "he was annihilated for our sake, while it seems difficult for us to even forget ourselves a little."
"He comes to save us; we are called to choose his way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves," he said, and encouraged attendees to pause during Holy Week to contemplate the Crucifix.
By humbling himself, Jesus invites us to walk the same path, Francis said, urging pilgrims to ask him "for the grace to understand something of the mystery of his obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this week."
After Mass Pope Francis greeted youth present for the 31st World Youth Day, the national celebration of which will take place July 25-31 in Krakow, and led pilgrims in praying the Angelus.
When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1456
A man got hit hard in the head with a can of 7Up. He’s alright though, it was a soft drink.
- A guest calls the waiter and complains, “How come there are no chairs at our table?!” The waiter shrugs, “I’m sorry but you only booked one table…
-Optimist: The glass is half full. Pessimist: The glass is half empty. Mother: Why didn’t you use a coaster!
Game Respect GameMy cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
Cats Are SmarterCats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.
How to Shock a Time TravelerIf someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared, what would be the most difficult thing to explain about life today? One answer: “I possess a device in my pocket that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.”
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?'
'No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'
A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, 'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!'
While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again! As she ran she once again began to pray,
'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late...But please don't shove me either!'
An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, 'They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.'
1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
3. On each of the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Sign of the Cross.
Divine Mercy Novena
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:
"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."
The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:
DAY 1 (Good Friday) - All mankind, especially sinners
DAY 2 (Holy Saturday) - The souls of priests and religious
DAY 3 (Easter Sunday) - All devout and faithful souls
DAY 4 (Easter Monday) - Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
DAY 5 (Easter Tuesday) - The souls of separated brethren
DAY 6 (Easter Wednesday) - The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
DAY 7 (Easter Thursday) - The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy
DAY 8 (Easter Friday) - The souls who are detained in purgatory;
DAY 9 (Easter Saturday) - The souls who have become lukewarm.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy may also be offered each day for the day's intention, but is not strictly necessary to the Novena.
"Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me."
Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.
"Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,
and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind."
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard -- upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
* In the original text, Saint Faustina uses the pronoun "us" since she was offering this prayer as a consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the prayer suitable for universal use.
"Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness."
Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
"Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me,
I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord's original words here were "the pagans." Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.
"Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion."
Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son's Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord's original words here were "heretics and schismatics," since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council's Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord's inspirations and orders, she declared: "I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus " I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me" (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.
Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.
Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.
Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:
Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.
*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is "victim" souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes "every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,"we recommend the "active" souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.
"Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice."
Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.
"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.
[This is a weekly electronic newsletter from Father Robert Zwilling, the parish priest of St. Michael Parish and St. Barbara Parish. This will be sent out weekly on Wednesdays. Please recommend this to individuals you think might be interested. Any suggestions or comments are welcomed, or if you wish to no longer receive this please e-mail: Roman.Catholic.Good.News@gmail.com]
"It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."-Catechism of the Catholic Church #393
From Roman Catholic Good News e-weekly 4-11-2007
Dear friends in Christ Jesus,
There was a girl named Elena who lived in Poland during the early part of the 20th century. While at a dance during her teenage years, Jesus Christ on the Cross appeared to Elena. Bleeding and bruised He appealed to her with the words, "How long must I wait for you?" This being the final confirmation that God was calling her to follow Him by being a nun, Elena left the dance immediately going to a nearby church to pray. Without even returning home, Elena then went to the city of Crawcow so that Jesus would not have to wait anymore. And the world has never been the same as Elena, later known as Saint Faustina Maria Kowalska, brought the world: Divine Mercy!
Friends, we are now in the time of great joy called the Easter Octave. The Easter Octave is the 8-day extension of Easter Sunday. It is as if all this time is one big EASTER SUNDAY. The Easter Octave extends until the Second Sunday of Easter, which is now called Divine Mercy Sunday. The Easter Octave is like eight Sundays day after day to celebrate the key of our Faith, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
There were three individuals in the early 20th century who lived at the same time, in the same country (Poland), and at one time, were no further than 15 miles away from each, though they never met face to face. Divine Mercy (that is, the Love of God manifested) enveloped them, and Consecration to Mary infused them with zeal. Because of their abandonment to Jesus, the world has never been the same. Their names are St. Faustina Maria Kowalska-the Apostle of Divine Mercy; St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe-Founder of the Militia Immaculatae; and Pope John Paul the Great.
Jesus Christ appeared to St. Mary Faustina many times in her life as she records in her diary called Divine Mercy in My Soul. St. Maximilian spread the message that Jesus gave, and Pope John Paul II received that message and fulfilled Christ Jesus's will by proclaiming Divine Mercy Sunday in the great Jubilee Year of 2000.
The details of Divine Mercy Sunday can be found below. The second website is about the message of Divine Mercy, the third website is about St. Maximilian Kolbe, and the fourth is more on the life of Saint Mary Faustina:
May the Divine Mercy envelope us all!
"The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousands". By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is "rich in mercy". By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that 'I AM'." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #211
First published April 11th, 2007.
THE FEAST OF WHAT?
THIS coming Sunday, the eighth day in the Octave of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday. Many Catholics still have no idea what this is. which as you'll see, is a tragedy.
According to Saint Faustina's diary, Jesus said of this Feast day:
I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity. tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. -Diary of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, n. 965
The "last hope of salvation"? One might be tempted to dismiss this along with other dramatic private revelation-except for the fact it was Pope John Paul II who inaugurated the Sunday after Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday according to this private revelation! (See Part II for a complete understanding of Diary entry 965 which does not restrict salvation to Divine Mercy Sunday.)
Consider these other facts:
. After he was shot in 1981, Pope John Paul asked that the diary of St. Faustina be entirely re-read to him.
. JPII instituted the Divine Mercy Feast in the year 2000. at the beginning of the millennium which he considered the "threshold of hope."
. St. Faustina wrote: "From [Poland] will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming."
. In 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love, John Paul II said,
Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter's See in Rome, I consider this message [of Divine Mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God. -JPII, November 22, 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza, Italy
. During a 1997 pilgrimage to St. Faustina's tomb, JPII testified:
The message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me. [it] forms the image of this pontificate.
Forms the image of his pontificate! And it was spoken at the tomb of St. Faustina, whom Jesus called His "Secretary of Divine Mercy."
. And as a rather dramatic exclamation point from Heaven, the Pope died in the beginning hours of the Feast of Divine Mercy.
The other title I considered for this article was "When God hits us on the head with a hammer." How can the significance of this Feast escape us when we consider these facts? How can bishops and priests fail to preach, then, the message of Divine Mercy which the Pope considered his "task before God", and therefore, the task of all those in communion with him?
AN OCEAN OF PROMISES
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. ON THAT DAY THE VERY DEPTHS OF MY TENDER MERCY ARE OPEN. I POUR OUT A WHOLE OCEAN OF GRACES UPON THOSE SOULS WHO APPROACH THE FOUNT OF MY MERCY. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. -Ibid. n. 699
Some pastors ignore this Feast because "there are other days, such as Good Friday, when God remits sins and punishment under similar conditions." That's true. But that's not all Christ said of Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus is promising to "pour out a whole ocean of graces."
On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. -Ibid.
What Jesus is offering is not just forgiveness, but incomprehensible graces to heal, deliver, and strengthen the soul. I say incomprehensible, because this devotion has a special purpose. Jesus said to St. Faustina:
You will prepare the world for My final coming. -Ibid. n. 429
If that is so, then this opportunity for grace has paramount significance for the Church and for the world. This is indicated with a certain urgency when Jesus says to Faustina:
Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of my justice, is near. -Ibid. n. 965
TIME OF MERCY
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. In one of her apparitions, the children witnessed an angel hovering above the world about to strike the earth with a flaming sword. But a light emanating from Mary stopped the angel, and justice was delayed. The Mother of Mercy was able to implore God to grant the world a "time of grace."
We know this because Jesus appeared a short time later to a Polish nun named Faustina Kowalska to "officially" announce this time of grace:
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. -Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1160, 1588.
Christ's words further indicate the proximate times we are living in, as foretold in Scripture:
Before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day [.] it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:20-21)
As I wrote in Prophetic Perspective, God is patient, allowing His plan to come to fruition, even over the course of generations. However, this does not mean His plan cannot enter its next phase at any moment.
The signs of the times tell us that it could be "soon."
TODAY IS THE DAY
"Today is the day of salvation," says Scripture. And this Sunday is the Day of Mercy. It was asked for by Jesus, and made so by John Paul the Great. We should be shouting to the world at this point-for an ocean of graces is to be poured out, and it is only hours away.
This is what Christ promised on Divine Mercy Sunday:
I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. -n. 1109
And so, the Holy Father has granted a plenary indulgence ("complete pardon") under the following conditions:
.a plenary indulgence [will be] granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!") -Apostolic Penitentiary Decree, Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy; Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Tit. Archbishop of Nova Major Pro-Penitentiary;
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Divine Mercy Sunday – Sunday, April 16th, 2023
The First Reading - Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
The first line of this Reading from Acts gives a kind of perennial description of the four necessary habits of the Christian life. “They devoted themselves,” the text says, “to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship (Gk. koinonia, also translated ‘communion’), to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.” On the one hand, these are the four basic elements of Mass. “The Apostle’s teaching” refers to the Liturgy of the Word, where the Scriptures of the Old Testament are read and explained in light of the apostolic teaching contained in the Epistle and the Gospel. The “fellowship” (or ‘communion’) is demonstrated in the two “passings”: the “passing of the peace” and the “passing of the plate.” Both these ritual acts are demonstrations of our fellowship or communion with one another as disciples of Christ: communion of spiritual goods (the sign of peace) and communion in material goods (the collection plate). The “breaking of the bread” refers to the Liturgy of the Eucharist proper, and “the prayers” refers to the collect, the Eucharistic prayer, and the other liturgical prayers that shape the Mass. So these four elements of early Christian life are perpetually present at each Lord’s Day Mass.
Adults – How do you practice these habits of the Christian life outside of Mass?
Teens -Pick one of these four habits and research how the Early Christians lived it out.
Kids – How does living our Christian faith bring others to Jesus?
Responsorial- Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
The refrain says, “Give thanks (Todah) to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.” And one of the verses says, “His +mercy+ endures for ever.” Actually, the word translated “love” and “mercy” are actually the same in Hebrew: it is the word hesed, which can mean “love” or “mercy” but whose meaning is actually more technical: it is the term for covenant fidelity. “Hesed” describes how covenant partners are supposed to treat one another, so yes, it includes concepts of love, mercy, longsuffering, but all within a covenantal context, a context of being in an oath-bound familial relationship. Divine Mercy Sunday is really a celebration of God’s hesed—his faithfulness to the covenant. God does not show mercy to us arbitrarily: he shows mercy because he has promised to do so, he has sworn to do so by multiple oaths throughout salvation history. -Pray a prayer of thanksgiving today.
The Second Reading- 1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Reflection - This text is poignantly appropriate after the celebration of Easter. Peter says, “Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him”—this statement seems like a tailor-made commentary on the Gospel Reading from John 20. Unlike Thomas, we cannot stick our hands in his side, but we still love and believe, and these are the things that are necessary for salvation. -List five reasons you have to rejoice.
The Holy Gospel according to John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
We see the Lord having great mercy on Thomas, the doubter. Although he could have been rightfully indignant about Thomas’ lack of faith, Our Lord “goes the second mile” and condescends to show himself to Thomas in ways that will satisfy Thomas’ doubts. Significantly, Thomas is invited to thrust his hand into the side of Christ—the very wound from which the mercy-flow of blood and water came forth. We don’t actually know if Thomas took the Lord up on his offer—despite iconography that shows him doing so. But we do know that Thomas responded to the Lord’s mercy by recognizing his true nature: “My Lord and My God!” In many ways, this is the climactic statement of the entire Gospel of John. The Apostle is leading us to the point that we, too, can make this whole-hearted confession with Thomas. Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking, “Faith was easy then, but now it’s hard.” It was hard for the first disciples to believe that Jesus of Nazareth, a man they knew and ate with, was also the God who revealed himself to Moses. After all, for the most part Our Lord looked normal. Aside from a few incidents which only a few witnessed (the Transfiguration), his body looked similar to other men’s bodies. No halo followed him around. He did all the things other people did. He performed miracles—but so had other prophets who were not divine. So we should not underestimated the demands on the faith of the first Apostles. Likewise, we should not exaggerate the demands on our faith today. In many ways we are blessed with a long tradition and a great deal of truth and insight that the Church has been given over two thousand years. We have categories and language to speak accurately about how Jesus can be both God and man (one “person,” two “natures”) and how the Eucharist can be his body (“substance” and “accidents”). This intellectual framework is a help to faith, as is the clarity and coherence of teaching readily available to us in, for example, the Catechism. Embrace of Christ and his claims always has required an act of faith, both for Thomas and for us. Christ gave him helps for his faith—but he gives us helps, too. Let’s not make excuses; let’s make the good confession.
Adults – When you are next able to receive Holy Communion make the prayer of Saint Thomas your own – “My Lord and my God!”
Teens – Look up and read about Eucharistic Miracles.
Kids – Thank Jesus for the love and mercy that He gave Thomas, and that He gives us.
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Let us believe and act on all that Jesus tells us through His Church!