Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy) April 3, 2016
Reading 1 Acts 5:12-16
Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
- (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting. R. Alleluia.
Reading 2 Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Alleluia Jn 20:29
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 20:19-31
Homily— April 2 & 3, 2016
I have three topics for you today. First topic, this is Divine Mercy Sunday. Sister Mary Faustina wrote prolifically in a diary, and in that diary she expressed the belief that Jesus wanted us to celebrate Him under the title of “Divine Mercy” and to do so on the Sunday after Easter.
Sister Mary Faustina was beatified April 18, 1993, and in his homily, Pope John Paul II shared this reflection.
The message of divine mercy is. . . implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God’s eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.
This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered. . .How many souls have been consoled by the prayer ‘Jesus, I trust in you!’”?
Pope Francis wrote “To change the world for the better it is necessary to do good to those who are not able to return the favor as the Father has done with us, by giving us Jesus. How much have we paid for our redemption? Nothing, totally free! Doing good without expecting anything in return. This is what the Father did with us and we must do the same. Do good and carry on!”
Second topic, in the gospel we see Jesus come to the fearful disciples and say “Peace be with you”! He gives them the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive sins. When he encounters Thomas he offers him his body to touch and asks him to believe. Thomas gives us a powerful response that we might think of when we receive communion which is: “My Lord and my God!” Do we recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread? Do we recognize Jesus when we read the gospels? Do we recognize Jesus in the people around us? When we recognize Jesus let us pause and say “My Lord and my God”.
Third topic, joining our faith formation classes with St. Anthony Parish. With the small number of religious education students that we have it seemed like a good idea to combine our programs. We had a meeting with those members of our Pastoral Councils and Faith Formation Commissions who were able to attend and look at the pros and cons of a joint program. It was decided to join our programs. Because some of our classes were so small we have had to put two grades together at times. Now we will have a class for each grade level. In the future we hope to have a summer program as an option. Two advantages that I see are that sharing resources and personnel will lead us to a better program and significant financial savings. The goal is to still celebrate the sacraments here except in the case of Confirmation if there are not enough students to warrant a separate Confirmation Mass. The classes will be held at St. Anthony parish as they have plenty of room. Catechists will be recruited as needed from both parishes.
Though we will miss having a Nativity program on site; this does give us the freedom to repurpose some of our space if we find a buyer for the old school and church. Working together with St. Anthony is a way for us to keep our focus on a bigger picture of what it means to be church. I am convinced that a joint program of faith formation will give our children a better education in the faith. If you did not receive a letter about this yet you will next week. Call me with any questions you may have.