And hath appeared unto Simon, alleluia!
On this weeks programme John is joined by Martina and Michael to reflect on the devotion to the Divine Mercy as promoted through the visions of St Faustina which is celebrated each year on the second Sunday of Easter. We have our reflection on the gospel of Low Sunday - the gospel of Doubting Thomas - as well as some liturgical odds and ends.
You can listen to the podcast of this weeks progamme HERE.
You can listen to the discussion on Divine Mercy Sunday excerpted from the programme HERE.
Divine Mercy Sunday
Martina, Michael and John share their thoughts and reflections about Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II introduced Divine Mercy Sunday following on the private revelation to the Polish nun St Faustina. Many Catholics gather in churches throughout the world today at 3pm to partake in the Divine Mercy Chaplet, veneration of the image of Divine Mercy, confessions, Mass etc.
Michael reminded us that God's Mercy can be traced back through Scripture and both he and Martina stressed that God's Mercy is for all. Both Martina and Michael shared experiences and Miracles attached to Divine Mercy as well as some details of the Divine Mercy conference held in Dublin earlier in the year.
The Feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday after Easter Sunday), is a relatively new addition to the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Celebrating the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ, as revealed by Christ himself to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, this feast was extended to the entire Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000, the day that he canonized Saint Faustina.
From the diary of a young Polish nun, a special devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. The message is nothing new, but is a reminder of what the Church has always taught through scripture and tradition: that God is merciful and forgiving and that we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But in the Divine Mercy devotion, the message takes on a powerful new focus, calling people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners.
The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us — no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others.
During the course of Jesus' revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that "throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come." These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.A plenary indulgence (the forgiveness of all temporal punishment resulting from sins that have already been confessed) is granted on the Feast of Divine Mercy if to all the faithful who go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and "in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. 'Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!')."
A partial indulgence (the remission of some temporal punishment from sin) is granted to the faithful "who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation."
9 things you need to know about Divine Mercy Sunday
We are continuing this week with the gospel of St John which continues on from the account read on Easter Sunday. We read the various appearances which are spread over a couple of Sundays but when you read the passage you see that they all happened within a very short space of time of each other on that Easter Sunday.
We are presented with the disciples gathered, huddled, in the Upper Room behind locked doors, silent and afraid. A group of men gathered around trying to work out what has happened and what are they going to do next. They are probably trying to work out what actually happened that morning, discussing what Peter and John had said, what Mary Magdala said and suddenly Jesus appears in front of them. Putting ourselves in their position can you imagine the reaction? No wonder that Jesus' expresses and seeks to calm them with "Peace be with you". Peace be with you, the peace that the world cannot give, it is offered freely to us as a gift which has to be received. One of the gifts of Easter, one of the joys is that great gift of peace but like any gift we have to be prepared to receive it! The doors were closed and locked - when do we close off our lives, we know it all, we don't want to hear an alternative view of things? When do we close out the call of God to us? But Jesus appearance in the Upper Room reminds us that no matter how we seek to close God out of our lives, he is always waiting and willing to come in and extend to us his prayer "Peace be with you".
The second part of the gospel reading is the story of Doubting Thomas. But Thomas sometimes gets a very bad press. His scepticism is to our benefit and his demands for proof demonstrate to us that the appearance of Jesus wasn't just a group hallucination, the apostles experienced something on that Easter day! Thomas also provides a model to us demonstrating the relationship between faith and reason. Too often in the world people try to tell us that to have faith requires the suspension of reason and our critical faculties. Pope John Paul II writing in his encyclical Fides et Ratio (Faith & Reason) reminds us that "There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith: each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action (n. 17)".
"Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves".
Thomas makes his profession of faith after seeing the resurrected Lord - "My Lord and my God". For us who journey in faith our prayer would probably be more accurately "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief"! But the witness of Thomas gives us food for the journey of faith as a pilgrim people. We may hit potholes, take detours, go off the road, and get flat tyres enroute but like Thomas we keep going.
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Liturgical Odds & Ends
Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter week 2, 2nd week of Easter
Saints of the Week
13th April - St Martin I
14th April - Saint Benezet the Bridge Builder
15th April - Saint Maximus of Persia
16th April - St Bernedette Soubirous - Seer of Lourdes
17th April - Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
18th April - Saint Laserian of Leighlin
Join us in prayer for the intentions entrusted to us by Pope Francis. For April 2015, we join the Holy Father in praying for:
- Creation: That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.
- Persecuted Christians: That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.
Daily Offering Prayer
God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, Who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for the prayer intentions proposed by the Holy Father this month. Amen.
Traditional Daily Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. The Apostles of Prayer offer themselves to God each day for the good of the world, the Church, one another, and the Holy Father’s intentions.