April 11, 2021 – Sunday of Divine Mercy

  1. Doubt and Faith: in his Asian Journal, Thomas Merton wrote: “Faith means doubt. Faith is not the suppression of doubt. It is the overcoming of doubt, and you overcome doubt by going through it. The man of faith who has never experienced doubt is not a person of faith. Consequently, the monk is the one who has to struggle in the depths of his being with the presence of doubt, and has to go through what some religions called the Great Doubt, to breakthrough doubt into a certitude which is very, very deep because it is not his own personal certitude; it is the certitude of God himself, in us.” 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. How can we 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?

  2. Divine Mercy Sunday: was initiated by Saint 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. There will be a special Divine Mercy Devotion open to all at Blessed Mother Parish (601 E. 23rd Street), beginning at 1:00pm. Everyone is welcome!

  3. “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing: to the “city and the world” Pope Francis delivered his Easter message saying that it was “scandalous“ that despite the pandemic still spreading, causing a severe social and economic crisis, armed conflicts are still ongoing and military arsenals are being strengthened. The list of ongoing conflict is long: the Civil War in Syria, that marked its 10th year anniversary in mid-March, is ongoing, there’s political instability in Iraq that could at any time devolve into conflict; and Islamic militancy continues to wreak havoc in Pakistan. There’s ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, supported by Russia; there is the Israeli– Palestinian conflict, Boko Haram continues to hold a deadly grip in northeastern Nigeria; political instability often translates to military-civic clashes in Myanmar, Venezuela and Nicaragua; and criminal violence in Mexico is almost as deadly as any war. There’s a Civil War in Libya, a war in Yemen that in Francis words has been met with “a deafening and scandalous silence;” violence in the Central African Republic and in the Democratic Republic of Congo; South Sudan continues to be at war with itself; Nagorno-Karabakh is far from being a peaceful region; and Islamic terrorists group Al-Shabab is crippling Somalia. Pope Francis urged Catholics and Christians around the world to ratchet up their praying for peace and an end to violence. Jesus, Prince of Peace, pray for us. 

  4. Easter Gratitude: Thank you for all your wonderful expressions of Easter joy! The Easter baskets, eggs, flowers, plants, food, and cards are most appreciated! On another personal note, it was recently discovered that I have a tear in my meniscus on my right knee. I will have outpatient surgery on Tuesday, April 13, and will be away from the office for a few days afterward. Your prayers are appreciated!

  5. Litany of Thanks:  Heartfelt thanks to everyone who gave of their time and talent to help make our Holy Week and Easter liturgies so beautiful and reverent! Without your service, we would not be able to offer such a wonderful liturgies to our parishioners and guests, whether in person or virtually. On behalf of Fr. Jerry, Father Sinoj, Deacon Richard Murphy, and our Pastoral Team, we offer our sincere gratitude to our Sacristans, Altar Servers, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Hospitality Ministers, Cantors and Musicians, Livestream volunteers, and the volunteers who tended the Easter fire. Special thanks to Deacon Corey Bruns for offering his time to help coordinate the countless details of our Triduum and Easter liturgies. May the joy of the Easter season remain in your hearts!   To those who spent a good part of Holy Saturday transforming our church building from Good Friday bleakness to Easter joy, thank you! Holy week services this year were simply stellar, perhaps because we were able to celebrate in-person this year. What a difference the “People of God” make! What a glorious sight to have people participating!