Gospel, Readings and Reflection 22.5.2022

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 57

Reading I

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders
about this question.

The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:

“The apostles and the elders, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right.  Farewell.’”

Responsorial Psalm

R (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
Alleluia.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
Alleluia.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
Alleluia.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
Alleluia.

Reading II

The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

I saw no temple in the city
for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.
The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gave it light,
and its lamp was the Lamb.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”

Reflection:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  John 14:23

Do you want our Lord to come to you and dwell within the depths of your soul?  Presumably the answer is an easy “Yes.”  The way to make this happen is to love God and keep His word.  When you do that, the Blessed Trinity will come and dwell within you.

It’s interesting that the love of God appears to be contingent upon our love of Him.  In other words, does God only love us when we love Him first?  Strictly speaking, God loves us with a perfect love regardless of whether we love Him or not.  But with that said, love takes on a whole new form when it is received and reciprocated.  Therefore, when we choose to love God we suddenly realize that our love of Him opens the door for Him to come and dwell within us, transforming us and making our heart His holy sanctuary.  What a glorious gift!

It’s also interesting to note that love of God means, in part, that we are obedient to Him.  But that’s the nature of God.  He is Love itself and, therefore, loving Him necessarily involves a complete submission of your will to His.  Perfect obedience to Him in all things is a powerful way of loving Him.  It’s a way of allowing Him to dwell within you and, in that act, to take over your will.  Only then can you love Him even more fully with your whole being.

Reflect, today, especially upon your desire to have the Most Holy Trinity come and dwell within your soul.  This should be the primary goal of our lives.  If God lives within us then all else in life will fall into place.  All things will work for the good and God will be glorified in and through us.  Make the choice to love Him through your obedience, this day, and your relationship of love will grow by leaps and bounds.

Prayer:-

Most Holy Trinity, I do love You and desire to love You in a more perfect way this day.  Help me to submit to Your perfect will in all things.  Help me to embrace perfect obedience to You always.  In that act of love and submission, come and make Your dwelling within me.  Jesus, I trust in You

Gospel, Readings and Reflection 15.5.22

Fifth Sunday of Easter

 

Lectionary: 54

Reading I

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.”
They appointed elders for them in each church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Responsorial Psalm

R (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
Alleluia.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
Alleluia.
Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
Alleluia.

Reading II

Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”  John 13:31

It is essential to know the end of the story.  Jesus knew the end when He spoke these words to the Apostles at the Last Supper right after Judas left to go and betray Him.  It’s important to put this situation within the context that Jesus understood it.  From a purely human point of view, one of Jesus’ closest friends was about to betray Him for money.  For most of us this would have been devastating and the cause for anger and hurt.  But because Jesus knew the end of the story, He was able to see Judas’ betrayal as the means to His glorification, not His defeat.  He turned His eyes toward Heaven and all that He would accomplish through His suffering rather than look at the immediate pain He would soon endure.

This is a powerful lesson for us all.  First, it’s essential that we look at Jesus’ glorification through His betrayal, suffering and death.  But we must also strive to see the potential that our own sufferings have when united to the Savior of the World.

How do you react when another sins against you?  How would you have reacted to Judas betraying your love?  This is a very difficult question to face in honesty and it is even harder to live the response that Jesus lived.  The truth is that every time we are mistreated by another, we are given an opportunity to glorify God and further the Kingdom of Heaven by forgiving, uniting our suffering with Christ’s, and offering mercy.  This is much easier to speak about than to live.

Reflect, today, upon this scene of the Gospel.  Gaze upon Judas leaving the Last Supper and going out into the night to betray our Lord.  But look at it in the way Jesus saw it.  Look at it with the understanding that this was the means chosen by the Father to bring salvation to the world.  Reflect, also, upon every opportunity that you are given to do as Jesus did.  Try to be concrete and specific and see any and every suffering you endure as a glorious opportunity to dispense the mercy of God.  Though this may be difficult at first, it is this act of love that will give great glory to the Father in Heaven!

Prayer

My dear Lord, You were betrayed by the kiss of one of Your closest friends.  But in Your perfect wisdom, You saw this betrayal as the perfect opportunity to glorify the Father through Your mercy and forgiveness.  Lord, I also have betrayed You countless times.  For that reason I am sorry.  But I thank You for loving me and forgiving me with Your Heart of perfect mercy.  Help me to receive that mercy and to offer it to others who have sinned against me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Gospel, Readings and reflection 8.5.22

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 51

Reading I

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm

R (3c) We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or:
Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
 We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or:
R  Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
 We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or:

The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
 We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or:
 Alleluia.

Reading II

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  “For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.  They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

REFLECTION

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27

Jesus offers a clear contrast among shepherds.  This would apply to priests, parents and all of us in our own unique way.  The contrast He offers is between the ones who care deeply for those entrusted to their care, and those who are just going through the motions and are more motivated by selfishness than sacrificial love.

Jesus perfectly manifested sacrificial love as the Divine Shepherd.  He was willing to go all the way for us, His sheep.  He was willing to sacrifice everything.  He did not let suffering, persecution, rejection and the like deter Him from His responsibility of caring for us in a total and complete way.  It should inspire us, console us and encourage us to know how deep His love for us really is.

This love is seen, also, in the unwavering love of a parent, sibling, or dear friend.  When the love one offers us is unwavering, especially in difficult times, this is a great support.  And love offered to another like this forges a deep spiritual bond that is stronger than any hardship we may face.  No matter what “wolf” comes our way, we must know of the unwavering support of the Divine Shepherd.  And when we can see that love made manifest in the unwavering support of others, we are doubly blessed.

But the contrast should not be ignored either.  Jesus gives the example of “a hired man who is not a shepherd” who sees the wolf coming and runs.  It’s important to point out how damaging this man is to the people of God.  When he runs from his responsibility and gives into selfish motivation, he leaves the flock untended and vulnerable to attack.

We should see in this hired man the temptation we all inevitably face in life.  It’s hard to stick with it through the hard times.  It’s hard to be there for those who need us when they need us.  It’s hard to be faithful in all things and to never shy away in the face of the temptation of fear.

Jesus offers His unwavering love and support to us as our Shepherd, but He also wants us to return this gift to Him by offering this same unwavering commitment to one another.

Reflect, today, how well you imitate the Good Shepherd.  Where you are lacking, let Him shepherd you so that you may shepherd others.  Run to the Good Shepherd and trust in His perfect love for you.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, I thank You for Your unwavering support of me as my Shepherd.  And I thank You for those who act as Your instruments of this deep love and commitment.  Help me to fulfill my role of shepherding Your people, the people You have placed in my life.  May I never run from the glorious responsibility You have called me to.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gospel, Readings and Reflection 1.5.22

Third Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 48

When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders, did we not,
to stop teaching in that name?
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles
to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

Responsorial Psalm

R  (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
 Alleluia.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
 Alleluia.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
 Alleluia.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
 Alleluia.

Reading II

I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels
who surrounded the throne
and the living creatures and the elders.
They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength,
honor and glory and blessing.”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea,
everything in the universe, cry out:
“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor, glory and might,
forever and ever.”
The four living creatures answered, “Amen, “
and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ is risen, creator of all;
he has shown pity on all people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

OR

At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

REFLECTION

So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.  John 21:7

Peter was all in, literally speaking.  This passage above is taken from one of the appearances of Jesus to the Apostles after His Resurrection.  They were fishing all night and caught nothing.  Jesus, from the shore, told them to cast the net off the right side of the boat.  When they did this they caught more fish than they could handle.  When John realized it was Jesus and said so, Peter could not contain his excitement and jumped into the water to go and meet his Lord.

What a wonderful image this is to reflect upon.  Specifically, it’s wonderful to consider the interior excitement of Peter that led him to jump into the water and swim to the shore.  His excitement could not be contained.

Would you jump into a lake to go to our Lord?  That may seem like an unusual question but it’s worth considering in a literal way.  If you encountered our resurrected Lord, would you be so excited to see Him that you would be compelled to enter into His presence, even if it meant you had to jump into a lake?  This action of Peter should be seen as a symbolic gesture for our own spiritual lives.  The fact that Peter did not hesitate reveals how we should react when we encounter Jesus.

Obviously we do not encounter Jesus in His resurrected form in the way Peter did in this passage, literally and physically.  But we do encounter Him every day, if we only have eyes to see.  He is alive within our own hearts through prayer and by His indwelling presence. He is truly present in the people we meet every day.   And He is most certainly present in the Sacraments, especially the Most Holy Eucharist.

There are two questions you should consider regarding this passage.  The first is whether or not you actually do perceive Jesus’ presence throughout the day.  Peter did not recognize Him at first, even though Jesus spoke to him and the others in the boat.  It took the miracle for them to recognize it was Him.  The second question is how you react to His presence when you do perceive Him.  Are you indifferent?  Do you lack enthusiasm?  Or are you filled with much joy?

Reflect, today, upon these two questions and resolve to become more attentive to the presence of our Lord every day, throughout the day.  Resolve, also, to react as Peter did when you see Jesus.  Let your heart and passion be drawn to Him and react with extraordinary joy and enthusiasm.  Don’t be afraid to go all in for our Lord!

Prayer:-

Lord, help me to see You, alive in my life, alive in the lives of others, and alive in Your Church, especially in the Most Holy Eucharist.  So often I am blind to Your divine presence all around me.  Help me to see You every day.  Help me also to respond with much joy and enthusiasm to Your divine presence.  I love You, dear Lord.  Help me to love You more.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

 

 

Divine Mercy Sunday

 

Today on Divine Mercy Sunday, look at the image of our Lord Jesus; speak to him about your worries and strains. Ask for his intercession and help and to give you strength. Ask intercession for your family, those that are sick and dying and especially those that we know. Ask for peace in our homes, parishes and in particular in Ukraine and Russia. Pray for our Priests and teachers. We pray for our Pope and Pope Emeritas. We pray for our Bishops and in particular within our own diocese. We pray for new Priests and Religious. We pray for our pets and animals. We pray for the deceased within our own families and from our Parish and in particular those in need of prayer who have no one to pray for them. We pray for our Friends. We ask to be kept safe from the Coronavirus and all illness. If we are dealing with illness we pray for ourselves and those loved ones around use who are attempting to carry our cross with us. We pray for our health care workers, our Gardai and emergency services of all types. We pray for those grieving a loved one at this time. We pray for all our needs and whatever lies ahead of us. Finally, we thank the Lord for everything his does for us. We are probably aware of a tiny percentage of what he does for us. Who knows what was around a corner, where we went in the opposite direction, through the guidance and love of the Lord for us. Many things happen in this world that we are not built to understand and we place our trust in the Lord that he he knows best. Merciful Jesus, we love you.

Divine Mercy Sunday – Plenary Indulgence

More on Divine Mercy Sunday, please click below:-

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/251031/the-indulgences-offered-on-divine-mercy-sunday-and-how-to-obtain-them

 

Gospel and Readings 24.4.22

Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday of Divine Mercy

Lectionary: 45

Reading I

Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.

Responsorial Psalm

R  (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
 Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
 Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
 Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
 Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
 Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
 Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
 Alleluia.

I, John, your brother, who share with you
the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,
found myself on the island called Patmos
because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus.
I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day
and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said,
“Write on a scroll what you see.”
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me,
and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands
and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,
wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead.
He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid.
I am the first and the last, the one who lives.
Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.
I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.
Write down, therefore, what you have seen,
and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

REFLECTION

What a grace-filled day this is! It is the eighth and final day of the Octave of Easter. On this eighth day of Easter we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a day when the flood-gates of mercy are opened wide and God lavishes us with more than we could ever hope for.

Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated for years as a private devotion. But in the year 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II, who himself was an extraordinary instrument of God’s mercy, put this feast on the Church’s official calendar as he raised Sister Faustina to sainthood.

Saint Faustina was a member of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland.  She died in 1938.  She came from a simple and poor family of farmers, had only three years of simple education and performed the humblest of tasks in her convent.  But she also was a mystic who was privileged to have many private revelations from our Lord which she recorded in her diary of Divine Mercy.

She writes of her experience on February 22, 1931:

In the evening, when I was in my cell, 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. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’

Later, Jesus explained to her in another vision:

“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross….Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”

Jesus spoke again to her of His desire that the Solemnity of Divine Mercy be established:

“On that day (the 8th day of Easter each year) 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. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”

Reflection for Holy Saturday

Today, there is a great silence.  The Savior has died.  He rests in the tomb.  Many hearts were filled with uncontrollable grief and confusion.  Was He really gone?  Had all their hopes been shattered?  These and many other thoughts of despair filled the minds and hearts of so many who loved and followed Jesus.

It is on this day that we honor the fact that Jesus was still preaching.  He descended to the land of the dead, to all the holy souls who had gone before Him, so as to bring them His gift of salvation.  He brought His gift of mercy and redemption to Moses, Abraham, the prophets and so many others.  This was a day of great joy for them.  But a day of great sorrow and confusion for those who watched their Messiah die on the Cross.

It’s helpful to ponder this apparent contradiction.  Jesus was accomplishing His act of redemption, the greatest act of love ever known, and so many were in complete confusion and despair.  It shows that God’s ways are so far above our own ways.  What appeared to be a great loss actually turned into the most glorious triumph ever known.

So it is with our lives.  Holy Saturday should be a reminder to us that even those things which seem to be the worst of tragedies are not always what they seem.  God the Son was obviously doing great things as He laid in the tomb.  He was accomplishing His mission of redemption.  He was changing lives and pouring forth grace and mercy.

The message of Holy Saturday is clear.  It’s a message of hope.  Not hope in a worldly sense, rather, it’s the message of divine hope.  Hope and trust in God’s perfect plan.  Hope in the fact that God always has a greater purpose.  Hope in the fact that God uses suffering and, in this case, death as a powerful instrument of salvation.

Spend time in silence today.  Try to enter into the reality of Holy Saturday.  Let divine hope grow within you knowing that Easter is soon to come.

Lord of all hope, I thank You for the gift of Your suffering and death.  Thank You for this day of silence as we await Your Resurrection.  May I also await Your triumph in my life.  When I struggle with despair, dear Lord, help me to be reminded of this day.  The day when all appeared as loss.  Help me to see my struggles through the lens of Holy Saturday, remembering that You are faithful in all things and that the Resurrection is always assured to those who put their trust in You.  Jesus, I do trust in You.

Holy Saturday prayer

From my catholic.life

Reflection/prayer on Holy Saturday as Jesus’ body lays in the tomb……

My Lord, today all is silent. You have given Your precious life for the salvation of the world. You died a horrific death, poured out all Mercy from Your wounded Heart, and now You rest in peace in the tomb as the soldiers keep vigil.

Lord, may I also keep vigil with You as You sleep. I know that this day ends with Your glorious triumph, Your victory over sin and death. But for now I sit quietly mourning Your death.

Help me, dear Lord, to enter into the sorrow and the silence of this Holy Saturday. Today no Sacraments are celebrated. Today the world waits in mourning in anticipation of the glory of new life!

As I keep vigil, awaiting the celebration of Your Resurrection, fill me with hope. Help me to look forward to the celebration of Your Resurrection, but also to look forward to the hope of my own share in the new life You won for the world. I entrust my whole being to You, dear Lord, as You lay lifeless and still. May Your rest transform the brokenness of my own soul, my weaknesses, my sin and my frailty. You are glorious and You bring the greatest good out of Your apparent defeat. I trust in Your power to do all things and I entrust my life to You. Jesus, I trust in You.

“Today the one who holds all creation in his hand
is himself held in the tomb,
a rock covers the One who covered the heavens with beauty,
Life has fallen asleep,
Hades is seized with fear,
and Adam is freed from his bonds.
Glory to your work of salvation;
through it you have accomplished the eternal Sabbath rest,
and You grant us the gift of your holy resurrection.”

Reflection on “Good Friday”

Ponder today, this dark day, the final words of Jesus.  Scripture records seven last statements, or the “Seven Last Words.”  Take each phrase and spend time with it.  Seek the deeper spiritual meaning for your life.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Jesus’ forgiveness of others was radical and to a degree never seen before.  While hanging on the Cross and enduring the cruelty of others, Jesus spoke words of forgiveness.  He forgave them in the midst of His persecution.

What’s more is that He even acknowledged that those crucifying Him were not fully responsible.  They clearly did not know what they were doing.  This humble acknowledgment of Jesus shows the depth of His tender mercy.  It reveals He died not in anger or resentment, but in willing sacrifice.

Can you say these words?  Can you call to mind the person who has hurt you and pray that the Father forgives them?  Leave judgment to God and offer mercy and forgiveness.

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

What a consolation it must have been for the good thief to hear these words.  He must have been experiencing a certain despair in life at that moment as he, along side of Jesus, was dying on a cross.  What a gift it was to be there next to the Savior of the World, sharing in the sufferings of Christ in such a real way.  And this man was privileged to be among the first to receive this gift of salvation won by Jesus on the Cross.

Jesus offers us the same assurance.  He offers salvation to us beginning today.  And He offers it to us in the midst of our own suffering and sin.  Can you hear Him offer you this gift of mercy?  Can you hear Him invite you to share His gift of everlasting life?  Let Him speak this invitation to you and let the eternal life of paradise begin to take hold more deeply today in your soul.

“Woman, behold your son.”

What a gift!  Here, dying on the Cross, Jesus entrusted His own mother to John.  And in so doing, He entrusted her to each one of us.  Our unity with Jesus makes us a member of His family and, thus, sons and daughters of His own mother.  Our Blessed Mother accepts this responsibility with great joy.  She embraces us and holds us close.

Do you accept Jesus’ mother as your own spiritual mother?  Have you fully consecrated yourself to her?  Doing so will place you under her mantle of protection and love.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus was not abandoned but He allowed Himself to feel and experience this complete loss of the Father in His human nature.  He felt the deep experience of despair.  He allowed Himself to know and experience the effects of sin.  Therefore, He knows what we go through when we despair.  He knows what it feels like.  And He is there with us in those temptations enabling us to press on through any despair toward total faith and trust in the Father.

“I thirst.”

What a meaningful statement.  He thirsted physically at that moment for water to quench His dehydration.  But more than that, He thirsted spiritually for the salvation of all of our souls.  Jesus’ spirit still longs for this gift of salvation.  He longs to call us

His children.  He thirsts for our love.

Ponder Jesus saying these words to you.  “I thirst for you!” He says.  It is a deep and burning thirst for your love.  You satiate Jesus’ thirst by returning that love.  Satiate His thirst this Good Friday by giving Him your love.

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

These are the words we need to pray more than any.  These are the words of complete surrender to God.  Prayer is ultimately about one thing.  It’s about surrender.  It’s about trust.  Say these words over and over today and let this perfect surrender of Jesus also be your surrender.

Surrender means God is in control.  It means that we let go of our own will and choose only God’s.  And it means that God pledges to accept our surrender and guide us into the perfect plan He has in mind for us.

“It is finished.”

It’s significant that He said “It is finished” as His last words.  What does this mean?  What is finished?

This spiritual statement from Jesus is one that affirms that His mission of the redemption of the whole world is accomplished.  “It” refers to His perfect sacrifice of love offered for all of us.  His death, which we commemorate today, is the perfect sacrifice which takes away the sins of all.  What a gift!  And what a sacrifice Jesus endured for us!

We are used to seeing this sacrifice on the Cross.  We ponder this sacrifice every time we look at the crucifix.  But it is important to note that our over-familiarity with the Cross can tempt us to lose sight of the sacrifice.  It’s easy for us to miss what Jesus actually did for us.  He accomplished the act that saves us and He is now offering it to us.  Let this completed act of Divine Mercy penetrate your soul.  He desires to say that His sacrifice has “finished” its work in your soul.

So today, on this Good Friday, it would be good if we spent the day pondering the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice.  Try to understand what it was like for God Himself to suffer and die.  Contemplate what it was like for God Himself, the Creator of all things, to be put to death by those whom He created, to suffer at the hands of those whom He loved with a perfect love.

Understanding Jesus’ sacrificial love will enable us to love as He did.  It will enable us to love those who have hurt us and those who persecute us.  His love is total.  It is generous beyond description.

My crucified Lord, I know You thirst for my soul.  You finished what You started by dying on the Cross for my salvation and the salvation of the world.  Help me to understand Your love and to accept it into my life.  Help me to forgive. Help me to invite You into my own darkness and sin. Help me to abandon all to You. I thank You, dear suffering Lord, for the gift of Your Precious Blood, poured out for the salvation of the world.  Jesus, I trust in You.

From Catholic Daily Reflections.com