Divine Mercy Sunday is Today!
Devotions in honor of the Lord’s Mercy will begin at St. Stanislaus Church at 3 pm, and Everyone is invited to attend. Four confessors will be available, along with the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Deacon Chuck Lewis will be presiding and preaching the devotion.
On May 23, 2000, Pope John Paul II granted the Universal Church the Feast of the Divine Mercy to be celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter each year. Since then, The Divine Mercy has become one of the fastest growing devotions in the Church, especially among young Catholics. This year, Divine Mercy Sunday will be celebrated on April 23rd.
The Message of The Divine Mercy
Based upon St. Faustina Kowalska’s record of the revelations she received from Jesus in 1931, the message of The Divine Mercy can be summed up in one sentence: Jesus, I trust in you! Christ as The Divine Mercy instructs us to approach Him in prayer to ask for His mercy, to let His mercy flow from us to others, and above all, to trust completely in Him in order to truly experience the graces of His mercy.
A “Mercy-filled” Video Series
While there are many resources which speak to the message of Divine Mercy, most focus on the life of St. Faustina and Jesus’ message as he revealed it to her. While those resources certainly help us understand the devotion, what is perhaps even more compelling are the many stories of people who have had profound conversion experiences because of The Divine Mercy message and image.
During last year’s Jubilee of Mercy, the Knights of Columbus produced a video series to tell just those kinds of stories. The #MercyStories micro-series shines a light on Catholics whose lives have been transformed by their devotion to the Divine Mercy message and connects their stories to the life of St. Faustina and the message Christ gave her. At just about 5 minutes per video, this series offers powerful stories of witness you can watch at anytime. Since the video series was launched in 2016, it has reached more than 1 million people on Facebook alone.
#MercyStories: Lives Transformed
The flagship video in the #MercyStories series follows Fr. Donald Calloway on his journey from a drug-runner to parish priest. A convert to Catholicism, Fr. Calloway dropped out of high school, was institutionalized, and spent time in jail before coming to Christ. In his episode of #MercyStories, he recalls the first moment he prayed before The Divine Mercy image and realized he was wanted and loved by Christ. Soon after, he entered seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
Both of these videos, and the entire series for that matter, serve as an example that the ability to show mercy and to receive mercy, even the most extreme cases, is possible. The Message of Divine Mercy is real and spreading. I highly recommend sharing these series with the people in your life who are in need of hope and mercy. Wouldn’t that be everyone?
Sunday Scriptural Reflection – Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter), April 23, 2017:
Resurrected by Mercy: The Peace of the Risen Jesus
A reflection from Julian Paparella, Salt & Light Foundation
The season of Easter continues for seven weeks, marking the fifty days between Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Easter lasts even longer than Lent!
The Gospel for this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, is an account that spans eight days. It begins on the evening of the day of the resurrection. Three days after they abandoned Jesus on His way to the Cross, the apostles are in hiding, locked in the Upper Room for fear of the Jews. Jesus comes to encounter them and His first words to them are: “Peace be with you.” The disciples rejoice as He shows them the wounds on His hands and side, showing them that He truly is Jesus, risen and alive. A second time He tells them: “Peace be with you… As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He then breathes on them and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins.
The encounter continues eight days later with the well-known experience of ‘doubting’ Thomas. Thomas was absent when Jesus first appeared and does not believe the other apostles when they tell them they have seen the Lord. One week later, Thomas is now present and Jesus returns. His first words are once again: “Peace be with you.” Jesus invites Thomas to touch His wounds, and Thomas believes.
The familiarity of this Gospel story can make us lose sight of how unbelievable it is. From a human perspective, Jesus’ approach is totally unthinkable. Imagine teaching and guiding a group of twelve friends for three years, only to have them betray and abandon you in your hour of greatest need. Imagine none of them standing up for you as you are unjustly sentenced to die. How do we respond when our friends flee at the moment of our greatest suffering? How would we feel if no one had stood up to plead our cause against hateful crowds?
Jesus could have returned to the apostles with rage, spitting fury and condemnation. He could have said to them, “Hypocrites! You say you will die for me yet you leave me to die! What did I do to deserve this?”
Instead, the very first response of Jesus, not having seen his apostles since the night He was betrayed, is: “Peace be with you.” Peace. Jesus does not seek an explanation, He does not demand retribution. Jesus forgives. He gives peace.
Having risen from the dead, Jesus’ forgiveness resurrects His disciples. His mercy gives them life. This is the deepest meaning of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He does not give His life begrudgingly. He goes to the Cross freely. He rises triumphant. He returns to give His apostles the gift of peace. Jesus could have returned to chastise the apostles. “How dare you abandon the Son of Man?” “What did I do to make you flee?” “I would never have abandoned you!” But what good would this have done? The much greater lesson, the much greater transformation comes from His totally unfathomable forgiveness.
What do we learn from this for our own lives?
First, Jesus wants this same forgiveness for each of us. God became man to save each of us. The mission of Jesus was to bring us salvation. To restore the peace that is destroyed by our sin. God has no interest in hanging on to our sin. God gains nothing by keeping us in our sins. The whole life of Jesus is to take away our sin. He wants to give us peace. Nothing we can do takes away His desire to forgive us. Nothing is so bad that it cannot be forgiven by God. We need only open ourselves to receive His mercy. His mercy is greater than our sins. It is our peace.
Second, Jesus invites us to forgive others as we are forgiven by Him. Forgiving is not only good for the other person and our relationship with them. Our mercy resurrects others. At the same time, it is also good for us. Forgiving brings us peace. It resurrects us. It frees us from grudges, from clinging to anger, from the resentment that leads to unrest within us. Forgiving is letting the other person know that they are still good, even if they have done wrong. Forgiving tells the other person that they can still be loved, even when they have not been loving.
Forgiving frees. It brings peace. It is the gift of Jesus to each of us. He invites us to give this gift it to one another.
[The readings for this Sunday are: Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 1:3-9; and John 20:19-31.]
FORMED is an exciting new website, where St. Stanislaus parishioners can access the best programs, movies, audio talks, and e-books to deepen their relationships with Christ and His Church. If offers amazing Faith Formation at the parish and in an engaging style with the best Catholic teachers, authors, and speakers, on-demand, 24/7. Watch the FORMED preview by clicking the formed banner above . . .
How to access FORMED:
It’s easy! Log into Formed.org and access all the faith-building resources available there. You will need to set up an account (click on “My Account” in the upper right) and enter the Parish Code the first time you use the site. Our parish code is: ZR6M2C. After you’ve set up an account with your own individual password, you will not need the parish code any longer. Simply log in with the User Name and Password you have chosen for yourself.
This Week on Formed:
Recommended this week:
(Episode 1 – Amazed & Afraid)
Join Bishop Barron as he travels through the mysterious and sacred places of the Holy Land of Israel and the eternal city of Rome to address some of the most controversial questions about the life and identity of Jesus Christ. A poignant start to Holy Week as Bishop Barron echoes Jesus’ question “Who do you say that I am?
New Programming from the Augustinian Institute!
Rise above the culture of moral relativism with Who Am I to Judge? — Responding to RELATIVISM with logic and love
Check these out . . . and get FORMED!
Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for April, 2017:
Each month, Pope Francis invites the faithful to pray for the intention he entrusts to the Church. Starting in 2017 the Pope will present only one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than the two presented before this year. He plans, however, to add a second prayer intention each month related to current events or urgent needs, like disaster relief. The urgent prayer request will help mobilize prayer and action related to the urgent situation.
The April, 2017 papal intention is:
For young people, that they might know how to respond generously to the vocation God has given them, and immerse themselves in the great causes of the world.