I. Divine Mercy Sunday: initiated by (Saint) Pope John Paul II on May 5, 2000 and affirmed by Pope Francis, the second Sunday of Easter, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus over sin, darkness and death, is Divine Mercy Sunday, also known as the Feast of Divine Mercy or St. Thomas Sunday. In a revelation to Saint Faustina in the 1930s in Poland, Jesus revealed the need to evangelize others to the endless mercy which God offers us, to those active in the Church, but also to those who are disconnected from the practice of their faith.
Our Scripture readings this weekend are lavish in praise and thanksgiving specifically for the gift of mercy that brings us to salvation. Each reading leads us to become less conscious of ourselves, and more conscious of God’s mercy, collectively and individually. The messages of God’s merciful redemption through Jesus, and Jesus’ subsequent instruction to serve, is as alive and relevant now as it was in the early days of the apostles.
For Daviess County Churches and beyond, there will be a special Divine Mercy Celebration at Blessed Mother Church (601 East 23rd St.), 1:30-4:00pm with special speakers and time for prayer and reflection. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available. Open the flood-gates of mercy!
II. Pope Francis Washes Feet of Prisoners! He chose the name Francis (after St. Francis of Assisi, the Franciscan, not Francis Xavier, the Jesuit), asked the people in Saint Peter Square to bless him with their silent prayer; he prefers visiting the poor over embracing the trappings of one of the most exalted positions of world leadership. On Holy Thursday, as Pope Francis begins his sixth year as “Servant of the servants of God,” he visited Regina Coeli Prison to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and washed the feet of 12 prisoners of different nationalities and faiths: 4 Italians, 2 from the Philippines, 2 from Morocco, 1 from Moldavan, a Colombian, a Nigerian and one from Sierra Leone. Eight of them are Catholic, two are Muslim, one is Orthodox, and one is Buddhist. Every pope has different gifts. Pope Francis is a pastor, a shepherd, and it is obvious that his early ministry experience in the “trenches” with struggling people has affected his outreach. He does not shy away from challenging the “daylights” out of cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and laypeople alike to live our faith in an authentic way as servants. His example is a powerful way to lead his flock of 1.2 billion sheep across the globe. Addressing the leaders of the Argentine Church, Pope Francis reminded them that “Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.” He charged: “Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.” Pray for Pope Francis and all his brother bishops, including our own shepherd, Bishop William F. Medley.
III. Cathedral Mission Trip! I wish to announce that parishioners are invited to be part of a Mission Trip to our sister diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica, during Fall Break, 2018, October 6-13. If you are interested, please leave your name and information with Beni Howell or Fr. Jerry. More information to come. Plan ahead. Pray about it!
IV. To Doubt or To Believe? Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Many of us identify with Thomas the doubter even though Thomas proclaimed one of the most awesome declarations of faith, “My Lord, and my God!” Why is that? Doubting can call us to a deeper level of faith, stretching us to trust more deeply in the Lord, beckoning us to mature as a disciple. Your life and mine is to bear witness to our faith, by what we say, but more importantly by what we do. How can we ‘prove’ to others that Christ is risen from the dead? How can we can help a modern doubter, like Thomas, come to know Christ? Today’s passage, John 20:19–31, affirms that people come to believe in the risen Christ through their experience of the believing community, through people like us. Reflection questions: How does my life reflect the risen Christ? What and who help me grow in my role as a witness of the Resurrection? How do I enrich the community of faith to which I belong?