Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday - April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday:
To pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, you can view
larger by pasting the link below into your browser.

Second Sunday of Easter

Reading I:  Acts 2:42-47

Psalm:  118

Reading II: 1 PT 1:3-9

Gospel:  JN 20:19-31


As I think back upon my understanding of the word
“mercy”, in the recesses of my mind, I hear “more kind than justice would require.” It may come from an old Catechism lesson, but it expresses it well for me. Having recently reflected on the Passion of Jesus, we see the Lord in his infinite love and kindness offering Himself in atonement for our sins. Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, sacrificed Himself for us.

In the chaplet that Jesus gave to St. Faustina, we pray for God’s mercy on us and on the whole world. Our world is certainly in need of that mercy at this time.

What the Lord asks of us in the “Our Father” is to pass on the mercy He has extended to us to our brothers and sisters in need of mercy. That is not always easy, but it is required.

I recall a story told to us when I was in the eighth grade. There was a family who said the rosary together each night. One night they noted that one of the boys said the other prayers, but was silent during the “Our Father.” When questioned, he said he was angry with his brother and didn’t want to forgive him. He was afraid to say “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” He still wanted God’s mercy for himself, however, he was unwilling to forgive his brother. The boy had to learn that, THAT was not an option.

A few nights ago, I heard a talk given by the late Bishop Fulton Sheen. In it, he described a situation in which he was asked to visit a man who was dying of cancer.  This man had much anger and had sent away many who had attempted to help him make peace with God before he died. In his inimitable way, Bishop Sheen described his experience. His first visit was for 3 seconds. Then the dying man told him, “Get out!” The Bishop returned again to sit in silence for 5 seconds, followed by the angry demand to “get out!” Bishop Sheen returned for 38 more attempts to reach the man. Even in his 40th visit, when the dying man was at the door of death, he screamed at the Bishop to “get out!” However, before he left, Bishop Sheen had told the man that all he had to do was to tell God he was sorry for his sins and ask for mercy.

Shortly after that visit,  the man died. Bishop Sheen was told that the man kept telling God he was sorry for his sins and asked for mercy.  “Mercy”more kind than justice would require.

In today’s Gospel, we see again Jesus’ mercy in dealing with Thomas who refused to believe that He had appeared to the other apostles unless he had proof. Jesus bends over backward to help Thomas come to faith. He appears again and invites 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.” Finally, Thomas makes the profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.”

Let us not tire of extending mercy to our brothers and sisters. With the help of the Lord, we can develop the virtue of forbearance and mercy, aware that we too need mercy from the Lord, and one another.

To Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, copy this link into your browser:
https://centrefordivinemercy.org/pictures/2016/3/Chaplet%20graphic.jpg


Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Domingo de la Divina Misericordia

Cuando pienso en mi comprensión de la palabra “Misericordia”, en los recovecos de mi mente, oigo “más amable de lo que la justicia requeriría”. Puede venir de una antigua lección de Catecismo, pero lo expresa bien para mí. Habiendo reflexionado recientemente sobre la Pasión de Jesús, vemos al Señor en su infinito amor y bondad ofreciéndose a sí mismo en expiación por nuestros pecados. Jesús, el cordero sin pecado de Dios, se sacrificó por nosotros.

En la corona que Jesús le dio a Santa Faustina, oramos por la misericordia de Dios sobre nosotros y sobre el mundo entero. Nuestro mundo necesita ciertamente esa misericordia en este momento.

Lo que el Señor pide de nosotros en el “Padre Nuestro” es transmitir la misericordia que nos ha extendido a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que necesitan misericordia. Eso no siempre es fácil, pero es necesario.

Recuerdo una historia que nos contaron cuando yo estaba en el octavo grado. Había una familia que decía el rosario juntos cada noche. Una noche ellos notaron que uno de los muchachos dijo las otras oraciones, pero estuvo en silencio durante el “Padre Nuestro”. Cuando se le preguntó, dijo que estaba enojado con su hermano y no quería perdonarlo. Tenía miedo de decir “perdona nuestras ofensas como nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden”. Él todavía quería la misericordia de Dios para sí mismo, sin embargo, no estaba dispuesto a perdonar a su hermano. El niño tuvo que aprender que, QUE no era una opción.

Hace unas noches escuché una charla dada por el difunto obispo Fulton Sheen. En él, describió una situación en la que se le pidió que visitara a un hombre que estaba muriendo de cáncer. Este hombre tenía mucha ira y había enviado a muchos que habían intentado ayudarlo a hacer la paz con Dios antes de morir. En su manera inimitable, el obispo Sheen describió su experiencia. Su primera visita fue de 3 segundos. Entonces el moribundo le dijo: “¡Fuera!— El obispo volvió a sentarse en silencio durante 5 segundos, seguido por la exigencia enojada de “salir!”. El obispo Sheen regresó por más 38 intentos de llegar al hombre. Incluso en su visita 40, cuando el moribundo estaba a la puerta de la muerte, gritó al obispo para “salir”. Sin embargo, antes de irse, el obispo Sheen le había dicho al hombre que todo lo que tenía que hacer era decirle a Dios Se arrepentía de sus pecados y pide misericordia.

Poco después de esa visita, el hombre murió. Se le dijo al obispo Sheen que el hombre seguía diciéndole a Dios que estaba arrepentido por sus pecados y pidió misericordia. “Misericordia” — más amable de lo que la justicia requeriría.

En el Evangelio de hoy, vemos nuevamente la misericordia de Jesús al tratar con Tomás quien se negó a creer que había aparecido a los otros apóstoles a menos que tuviera pruebas. Jesús se inclina hacia atrás para ayudar a Tomás a llegar a la fe. Él aparece de nuevo y invita a Tomás ... “Pon tu dedo aquí y ve mis manos, y trae tu mano y ponla en mi costado, y no seas incrédulo, sino creed.” Finalmente, Tomás hace la profesión de fe, “Mi Señor y mi Dios”.

No nos cansemos de extender misericordia a nuestros hermanos y hermanas. Con la ayuda del Señor, podemos desarrollar la virtud de paciencia y misericordia, conscientes de que también nosotros necesitamos la misericordia del Señor, y unos a otros.

Para Orar la Coronilla de la Divina Misericordia, copie este enlace en su navegador:
Https://centrefordivinemercy.org/pictures/2016/3/Chaplet%20graphic.jpg

2 comments:

  1. Whenever I hear the word “mercy,” I immediately think of forgiveness. I believe the two are intimately connected. The boy in your story came to understand that you can’t comfortably ask to receive God’s mercy if you are unwilling to forgive your brothers and sisters. We innately know that divine love calls for our forgiving one another and surrendering our wounds and hurts to God.
    A Christian radio station co-host was discussing forgiveness the other day and commented that forgiveness does not diminish justice. Rather forgiveness frees us to move on with our lives in a state of wholeness as we entrust the judgement to God.
    Forgiveness is a self-nurturing act. We forgive to heal ourselves. Holding onto hurt builds resentment and feeds negative emotions which can make us physically ill and emotionally rob us of joy. Forgiving another restores us to grace and peace. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves and that may be even more difficult than pardoning another. When we ask God for mercy with a contrite heart we are assured of His love and forgiveness. We can always ask God to help us find forgiveness in ourselves for those times when we are stuck in anger, guilt and shame. We are God’s beloved and His Divine Mercy awaits us.
    From the cross Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” We need to forgive because we are forgiven. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he needs to forgive a brother who sins against him, Jesus replied, “Seventy-seven times.” I am reminded of the saying, “To err is human; to forgive is divine.” In our lifetime we will sin against God, ourselves and others many times. Thus, forgiveness is an ongoing process. David Kessler, in the book, “Life Lessons”, says that forgiveness “is our spiritual maintenance plan. It helps keep us at peace and in touch with love. Our only task is to try to open our hearts again.” Mercy is a Divine blessing to receive and a gift to offer others.
    As for today’s gospel story, I can certainly identify with Thomas’ skepticism. Even though I’m a seasoned Catholic I struggle with understanding certain beliefs. Having just commemorated Good Friday, while I believe it is so, I still find it difficult to grasp that Jesus’ suffering takes away our sin and that He needed to be subjected to such injustice and torture. At the same time, I know that sharing in our humanity and embracing such an inhumane death was part of God’s plan for our Salvation. I can’t fully understand it intellectually but I know it without question in the depths of my heart. Author Cackie Upchurch sums it well. “The story of Thomas invites believers in every age to trust and to embrace a risen Lord whose wounds they cannot physically touch. It invites us to become comfortable with a little shadow that is cast by doubt, knowing that Jesus is willing to meet us there.” In faith I worship as Thomas did, “My Lord and My God.”
    Pat C., ASBS

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  2. Sr. Therese MW SBSApril 20, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    Very inspiring! We know that the Lord is "kind and forgiving-- most loving to all who call on" him (Psalm 86:5)

    Psalm 118, the responsorial for this Sunday, reminds us about the
    inestimable mercy of Jesus, who suffered supreme agony and even death for our salvation.

    The following excerpts are from a General Audience by
    St. Pope John Paul II:

    "When a Christian, in unison with the voice of prayer in Israel, sings Psalm 118, that we just heard, he feels within him a special thrill."

    "The splendid Biblical hymn is placed at the heart of a small collection of psalms, (113 to 118), called the Passover Hallel,
    namely, the psalms of praise used in Hebrew worship for the Passover and the major solemnities of the liturgical year. A beautiful antiphon begins and ends the psalm: "Praise the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever" (verses 1 and 29)."

    "This rite evoked by the psalm is proposed to the Christian in Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, celebrated in the liturgy of Palm Sunday. Christ is acclaimed as the "Son of David" (cf. Mt 21, 9) by the crowd, who, "having come for the feast ... took branches of palms and went out to greet him, shouting: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel" (Jn 12, 12-13). At that festive celebration that is, however, the prelude to the hour of the Passion and Death of Jesus, the symbol of the cornerstone, takes its full meaning, a glorious Easter meaning."

    "Psalm 118 encourages Christians to recognize in the Easter event of Jesus "the day that the Lord has made", on which "the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone". With the psalm they can then sing with great thanksgiving: "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation" (v.14) "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and exult in it. (v.24)"

    St. Pope John Paul II
    General Audience
    Dec. 5, 2001

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