When this is over, may we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The gift of Holy Communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Holding hands while we party
When this ends, may we find that we have become
more like the people we wanted to be
we were called to be by God
we hoped to be
and may we stay that way—
Better for each other because of what we have been through together.
Adapted from Laura Kelly Fanucci
I. 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 profoundly 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 Gospel 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 during this COVID-19 time? 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?
II. 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 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. Open the floodgates of mercy!
“To celebrate Easter is to believe once more that God constantly breaks into our personal histories, challenging our ‘conventions,’ those fixed ways of thinking and acting that end up paralyzing us. To celebrate Easter is to allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope.”
(Pope Francis, Easter homily, 2018).
III. Connecting With Our People During this Unusual Time: Did you know that every Friday, our bulletin and the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday are sent out through an email medium called Constant Contact? If you do not receive this weekly service, but would like to, send an email to [email protected] or call the office. Someone asked recently if the One Call Now could be sent to more than one phone number in a household? The answer is YES. Again, send an email to [email protected] or call the office. We will continue to Live Stream our Sunday Mass at 9 o’clock. You do not need to subscribe to Facebook to view. The live stream can be accessed from a computer or mobile device at: www.facebook.com/ststephencathedral/live. Don’t forget to check out Saint Stephen Cathedral Webpage at www.saintstephencathedral.org, and our Facebook page, if you subscribe to Facebook.
IV. The Church Looks Like New Life! Even during this unthinkable coronavirus season, consider what the church building looks like, smells like, sounds like, and feels like during the 50 days of Easter! The smell of Easter lilies and the other colorful plants and flowers, (given in memory of, or in honor of loved ones) grace our Cathedral liturgical space. The joyful sounds from the piano and the organ were toned down for 40 days of Lent, but now resound with more jubilant songs and abundant Alleluias announcing the new life in Christ. The smell of incense still lingers. Do not miss the honored placement of our Paschal Candle, shining bright and standing tall, in our sanctuary, reminding us reminding us that Christ is our light and the light of the world (John 8)! The atmosphere of the Cathedral of Saint Stephen shouts out welcome and a longing for your presence, to join the Real Presence of Christ under the form of bread and wine, very much alive in the Word of God, even during the uncertainty of the historic COVID-19 experience, eager for your return!