14 Apr 2012

15th April 2012 - Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

'Doubting Thomas' by Caravaggio

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia! Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!
The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia! And hath appeared unto Simon, alleluia!

Welcome to Sacred Space 102fm on the second Sunday of Easter where we continue to celebrate Easter Sunday within the Octave of Easter. At the same time we also wish our Orthodox brethren who celebrate according to the Julian calendar a Happy Easter as their Easter falls this weekend!!! On this weeks programme we have an interview with Fr John Walsh about the feast celebrated today the Feast of Divine Mercy. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel and some saints of the week and local notices.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Divine Mercy Sunday

On this weeks programme we have an interview with Fr John Walsh about the Feast of Divine Mercy which is celebrated today.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.
Concerning the Feast of Mercy Jesus said:
  • Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)
  • I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341)
  • This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. (Diary 420)
  • On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.* [our emphasis] On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will I contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)
  • Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it. (Diary 741)
  • I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. (Diary 1109)
As you can see the Lord's desire for the Feast includes the solemn, public veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as personal acts of veneration and mercy. The great promise for the individual soul is that a devotional act of sacramental penance and Communion will obtain for that soul the plenitude of the divine mercy on the Feast.
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."

To find out more about how the feast of Divine Mercy fits into the Octave of Easter go here.

Gospel - John 20: 19-31

We are continuing this week with the gospel of St John which continues on directly 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:

Blue Eyed Ennis
Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Renewal Ministries
Centre for Liturgy

Saints of the Week

April 16th - St Bernadette of Lourdes
April 17th - Bl Kateri Tekawitha - the decree of canonisation of "Lily of the Mohawks" was proclaimed on 19th December 2011 and the recognition Mass is scheduled for 21 October 2012.
April 18th - St Molaise of Leighlin
April 19th - St George of Antioch
April 20th -  Pope St Leo IX
April 21st - St Anselm

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