April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy

April 23, 2017:  Second Sunday of Easter / Divine Mercy Sunday

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Pope Francis Regina Cæli
Having concluded the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, today we're invited to resume the grace that comes from the God's mercy.  Jesus said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  Those whose sins you'll forgive will be forgiven."  Here's the sense of mercy, the forgiving of sins on the day of Jesus' resurrection.  The Risen Jesus has given his Church his mission concretely to announce forgiveness to everyone.  This visible sign of his mercy brings the peace and joy of a renewed encounter with the Lord.
Mercy makes us realize that violence, rancor, and revenge don't make sense.  Mercy also opens the heart and allows us to express our closeness, especially to those who are alone and marginalized.  Mercy is commitment to be an instrument of justice, reconciliation, and peace.  Mercy is the keystone in the life of faith and the concrete form in which we give visibility to Jesus' resurrection.
Read
  • Acts 2:42-47  They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, communal life, breaking of bread, and prayer.  Many wonders and signs were done through them.  They divided their possessions according to each person's need. The Lord added to their number.

  • The incredulity of St. Thomas
    (de Rossi)
  • Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24  "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting."  The Lord gave me strength and saved me.  The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice.
  • 1 Pt 1:3-9  Blessed be God, who in mercy gave us new birth to living hope through Jesus' resurrection.  You rejoice that you're safeguarded through faith, though now you may have to suffer, so your faith may be for praise, glory, and honor.  Though you haven't seen him, you love him; though you don't see him now, you believe and rejoice as you attain salvation.
  • Jn 20:19-31  Jesus came to the disciples, said “Peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and side; they rejoiced.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.  Receive the Holy Spirit; forgive sins....”  They told Thomas (who wasn't there), “We've seen the Lord.” / "Unless I put my finger into his nail marks and hand into his side, I won't believe.”  Jesus returned a week later when Thomas was there, said, “Peace be with you,” then told Thomas, “Put your finger here, see my hands, put your hand into my side, and believe.”  Thomas:  “My Lord and God!” / “You believe because you've seen?  Blessed those who haven't seen and have believed.”  Jesus did many other signs, but these are written so you may believe Jesus is Christ and Son of God, and you may have life.
    Reflect
      • Creighton:  “When Thomas touched Jesus’ wounds, they drew out of him the disruptions below the surface of his own life.  His trust had been shaken, his faith in Jesus as messenger of God’s reign called into question.  Touching the wounds connected his inner wounds to Jesus' visible ones.  The wounds of Jesus’ heart can be placed in the larger and deeper wounds of Jesus' hands and side.  In this way, Thomas is healed and moved from doubt to faith” (Schreiter).  Pope Francis said we encounter the living God through Jesus’ wounds.  Like Thomas, our life will only be changed when we touch Christ's wounds in the poor, sick, and needy.  By walking and learning with suffering people, we can know Jesus more intimately and see the beauty of the resurrection.  May we learn from Thomas how to become closer to Christ....
        • Passionist:  Jesus appeared to the apostles sans Thomas, saying “Peace!” and showing them his wounds, and they rejoice.  He commissions them, breathing the Spirit on them.  When they told Thomas, he didn't believe them, likely because he was so hurt by what he saw happen to the One he thought was the Messiah and didn't want to be hurt  again.  Sometimes we may not get close to or trust someone because we've been hurt before and don't want to be hurt again.  But Jesus appears again, with Thomas present, shows his wounds, and Thomas believes, confessing, “My Lord and my God!”  Thomas’ pain is healed when he is with the other disciples. Jesus appears to Thomas in the midst of the community; Jesus could have appeared to him alone as to Mary Magdalene but didn't.   The 1st reading portrays the early community as one in which all was held in common, and they combined resources to supply everyone's needs; “many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”  What would happen if more of us came together and dedicated ourselves to meeting everyone's needs?  May we make the effort to grow community and bring hope to a world too hurt to be willing to believe.
        • DailyScripture.net:  "Unless I see , I won't believe":  The Risen Lord revealed his glory to his disciples gradually.  Even after they saw the tomb and heard about his appearance to the women, they were weak in faith and afraid of arrest.  When he appeared to them, he showed them his wounds, calmed their fears, brought them peace, and commissioned them to proclaim the good news.  His sending of the disciples is parallel to the Father's sending him.  Jesus fulfilled his mission through his love of and obedience to the Father.  He calls us to do the same and gives us the Spirit to equip us with life, power, joy, and courage.  Thomas was a pessimist:  when Jesus proposed they visit Lazarus, Thomas said,  "Let's go too and die with him."  He loved the Lord but lacked courage to stand with him in his passion.  After Jesus died, Thomas withdrew and doubted the women and his fellow apostles who saw the Risen Lord.  Through faith we recognize the Lord:  when Thomas finally rejoined the others, the Lord reassured him he'd risen, and Thomas confessed Jesus as Lord and God.  Through faith we too proclaim Jesus as our Lord and God....
        From Universalis
        • Pope John Paul II at Sr. Faustina Kowalska's canonization:  Jesus told Sr. Faustina: “Humanity won't find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy.”  The future holds progress and pain, but divine mercy will illumine the way.  The path of mercy reestablishes our relationship with God and creates solidarity among people.  We experience God's mercy and are called to practice mercy towards others.  He showed many paths of mercy, forgiveness, and reaching out; he bent over every poverty, material and spiritual.   We learn to give ourself in love only by penetrating God’s love; then we can look others with unselfishness, solidarity, generosity, and forgiveness.  “I feel pain when I see my neighbors suffer; I carry their anguish, and it destroys me.  I want their sorrows to fall on me, to relieve them” (Sr. Faustina).  This love must inspire humanity, if we're to face our challenges and defend the dignity of every person.  The message of divine mercy is a message about the value of every person, for whom Christ gave his life and the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.  This message is addressed to those who have lost confidence and are tempted to despair.  Christ offers them his face, shows them the way, and fills them with hope.  “Jesus, I trust in you.”
          Sunday-trumped saints
        Dress legend
        • 'Wheat' pin:  They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread... (1st reading)
        • OneLife LA 'sign' pin:  Many signs were done through the apostles (1st reading); Jesus did many other signs (gospel); "Choose love" theme of OneLife LA 2017 (Divine Mercy Sunday)
        • 'Boundless mercy' pin from Congress 2016:  Divine Mercy Sunday
        • 'Abacus' tie pin:  They 'divided' their possessions according to need; every day the Lord 'added' to their number (1st reading); do the math
          • 'Stone' tie pin:  The stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone (psalm)
          • Gold-colored accessories:  Gold lampstands, gold sash, fire-tested gold  (2nd reading)
          • 'Fire' pin:  Your faith is more precious than gold tested by fire (2nd reading)
          • 'Key' tie:  "I hold the keys to death" (2nd reading); the doors were locked (gospel)
            • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  It's wonderful in our eyes (psalm); "though you haven't seen him, you love and believe in him (2nd reading); "blessed those who haven't seen and have believed"; "we've seen the Lord" (gospel)
            • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  “Peace be with you!” (gospel)
            • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Divine Mercy; "they ate their meals with sincerity of heart" (1st reading)
            • 'Nail' tie pin:  Thomas:  "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the marks..." (gospel)
            • 'Hands' pin:  Jesus showed them his hands; Thomas:  Miracles were done at the apostles' hands (1st reading); "unless I put my hand into his side, I won't believe"; "see my hands, and put your hand into my side" (gospel)
            • 'Dove' pin:  "Receive the Holy Spirit" (gospel)
            • White shirt and socks:  Color of Easter day and season
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