PASTORS PEN - APRIL 21st
The tomb is empty! He is risen!
Jesus rose from death!
Reflecting upon Jesus’s death, Mahatma Gandhi, (a Hindu by religion, who was deeply inspired by the person of Jesus) shares this incisive thought:
"A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act."
But death was not the end of that story! Death stands defeated! That “perfect act” brought forth something else: Resurrection!
Jesus, is the Risen Lord, living with us!
Everything in Christian Faith centers on the astounding truth of the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus said: I am the resurrection. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”(John 11:25-26).
The disciples were irrefutably charged with a new power and strength after their encounter with the Risen Lord. Their lives stand transformed; and each in a unique way, begins to bear witness to the Risen Lord. Through them, the believers also begin to experience the power of resurrection in their own lives. What amazing news for us!
Resurrection is joyful news. The joyful news that Jesus is risen does not automatically change the world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. What it does and should change is our perception of this world. Easter gives us the spiritual power to do our daily chores, the routine things of life, accept the discipline that makes life what it is, and the courage to make more sacrifice for life itself. As Pope St John Paul reminds us: "Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."
Happy Easter to all!
From all of us,
Fr Francis, Deacon Greg, Fr Biju
Fr Thomas & Fr John Schultz
DEACON'S BENCH - APRIL 28th
On a February evening in 1931, Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, was praying and meditating in the cell of her convent when, as she wrote later in her diary, Jesus Christ appeared to her in a vision:
I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale…. After a while Jesus said to me, “paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’ I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then through out the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.” (Notebook I, items 47 and 48)
Jesus instructed Faustina that the image of His Divine Mercy was to be “‘solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.’”
These visions continued for years; on several occasions the Lord explained in greater detail His purpose in instituting this “Feast of 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. 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.… Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” (Diary 699)
In a later vision, Jesus instructed Faustina, “‘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 742)
After a three year delay, a painting based on Faustina’s vision was completed and displayed at the first Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in April of 1935.
On April 18, 2000 Faustina was canonized a saint; that same day, Pope John Paul II officially established the Feast of Divine Mercy, reminding the Church that,
love of God and love of one’s brothers and sisters are inseparable…. Thus the message of divine mercy is also 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.
On this Second Sunday of Easter, as we recall the mingled confusion, joy, and doubt of the Apostles, let us join with Saint Thomas in his climatic confession of faith on seeing the Risen Christ: “My Lord and my God!” Let us also, on this Divine Mercy Sunday, join with Saint Faustina in declaring to our Merciful Savior: “Jesus, I trust in you!”