April 28, 2019

Divine Mercy

April 28, 2019:  Second Sunday of Easter / Divine Mercy Sunday

See over 20 connections with today?
Legend below
Jesus appeared to the Apostles who were bewildered and afraid after their Master was crucified, revealing that he brought peace as a fruit of his victory over evil.  The Risen One gives peace, because through his sacrifice he reconciled God and humanity and overcame sin and death.  Thomas, who had not witnessed the Lord’s appearance in the Upper Room, needed Jesus to come forward to dispel his disbelief and invite him to touch his wounds.  The wounds represent the source of peace, because they are the sign of the immense love of Jesus who defeated sin, evil and death.
The risen Jesus also brings joy:  “The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”  Jesus’ resurrection is the greatest reason for our joy; he destroyed the obstacles and negative forces of the world that prevent us from being joyful.
Jesus also brings mission:  “As the Father sent me, I send you,” putting into motion a dynamism of love, spread through all the faithful, capable of transforming the world with the Spirit's power.  The Risen Jesus entrusts every Christian with the task of announcing his Resurrection, of transmitting God's gifts of peace and joy, continuing Jesus' saving mission in the world.
Approach Christ with faith, opening our hearts to peace, joy and mission, which is the proclamation of divine mercy, the joyful witness of his transforming and redeeming love.
  • Acts 5:12-16  Many signs and wonders were done at the hands of the apostles.  Great numbers were added to the believers in the Lord.  Many brought in the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.
  • Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19  I, John, was caught up in spirit and heard a loud voice:  “Write what you see.”  I saw seven gold lampstands, and one like a son of man in their midst; he wore a robe and gold sash. He touched me and said, “Fear not!  I am the first and the last.  Once I was dead, but now I am alive.  I hold the keys to death.
  • 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.
  • Creighton:  While doubt and diligence are often prudent, doubt can stunt our growth in relationships.  It's easy to doubt people and suspect underlying motives.  How much better relationships are when approached with trust and assumed positive intent!  My faith can ebb and flow, with lows filled with disconnection from God that wants proof.  Much like Thomas, I also seek such affirmation, calling out to God for proof or a sign.  At these times Christ’s call to faith sustains me and I remember "blessed those who have not seen and believed.”  May we put complete trust in God, accepting his love and mercy unconditionally.  May we live and proclaim our faith freely and boldly in word and deed, going forth like the Apostles sent to spread the Gospel.
    The incredulity of St. Thomas/ Caravaggio
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The difference a week makes":  The octave of the first Easter was disappointing and uneventful for the apostles. On Easter night, Jesus sent his apostles to proclaim his gospel, but eight days later they were paralyzed by fear and behind locked doors. Thomas didn't believe Jesus was risen, maybe because he saw no change in the others' lifestyle, but the Lord had mercy on the apostles after they were unfaithful to him so often:  he came to them again and even invited Thomas to prod his wounds.  Maybe last week was disappointing for you too. But Jesus still comes to you again with mercy.  The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of truth" (Jn 16:13). He will move us to be true to the Lord and not unfaithful. The Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of love in us (Gal 5:22), and we will stop our sinful rejection of the Lord and our disobedience to Him. By Jesus' mercy and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be witnesses for the risen Christ and truly celebrate Easter. "Lord, have mercy. Come, Holy Spirit!"
  • Passionist:  We all have ‘Thomas’ days when we believe little and lament a lot.  We live in a "seeing is believing" culture.  Holy Mother Church is a mess at times, but celebrating the Easter sacraments with those being baptized gives hope.  We're nurtured by the faith of the newly baptized and professed and give thanks for their giftedness to us and the Church.  Jesus is alive!
  • 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....
      • On Divine Mercy:  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.”
      • Trumped saints
    Dress legend
    • 'Hands' pin:  Jesus showed them his hands; miracles were done at the apostles' hands (1st reading); "he touched me with his right hand" (2nd reading); "unless I put my hand into his side, I won't believe"; "see my hands, and put your hand into my side" (gospel)
    • 'Heart' pin, 'Boundless mercy' button (from Congress):  Divine Mercy (psalm)
    • 'Stone' tie pin:  The stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone (psalm)
    • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just (psalm), the disciples rejoiced (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  It's wonderful in our eyes (psalm); "we've seen the Lord"; blessed those who have believed without seeing (gospel)
    • 'Scroll' pin:  Write what you see on a scroll (2nd reading)
    • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  I heard a voice as loud as a trumpet (2nd reading)
    • 'Feet' pin:  "I fell down at his feet" (2nd reading)
    • Gold-colored accessories:  Gold lampstands, gold sash (2nd reading)
    • 'Keys' tie pins:  "I hold the keys to death" (2nd reading); the doors were locked (gospel)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  “Peace be with you!” (gospel)
    • 'Nail' tie pin:  Thomas:  "Unless I see the nail marks and put my finger into them, I won't believe" (gospel)
    • 'Dove' pin:  "Receive the Holy Spirit" (gospel)
    • 'Signs' tie:  Jesus did many other signs (gospel)
    • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Passage of time between appearances (gospel)
    • White shirt and socks:  color of Easter day and season

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