“You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are they who have not seen me, but still believe!" ~John 20
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
As our Easter celebration continues, I hope this past week has been one of prayerful reflection and rest for you. Many students are just ending a week of school vacation.
This past Wednesday we gathered at Sacred Heart Cathedral with Bishop Matano for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The remaining students from St. Rita’s confirmation class will gather at the Cathedral on April 18. Congratulations to all!
We reflect today on the Divine Mercy of God, otherwise known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Here is a link that describes how to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Divine Mercy Novena http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena.php which typically starts on Easter Sunday, though it can certainly be used at any-time. Prayers for the intentions of the Pope, reception of Holy Communion and participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation are all part of the Divine Mercy novena.
Chapter 20 of the Gospel of John describes how Jesus appears to his disciples ... "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.” Imagine being present in that room with the other disciples ... suddenly Jesus appears to you and says those words of peace! Considering all that had happened, the betrayal of Judas, the denial by Peter, the abandonment by the others, the agony, the crucifixion ... and yet now Jesus stands before you very much alive, offering words of peace!
This had to be an overwhelming experience for the disciples. Most profoundly, 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.”
Jesus gave his disciples the ability to forgive sins just as he had done. His power would now work through them so that the church could continue.
Jesus also gently addressed the doubts of Thomas who was not with Jesus when he first appeared in that locked room. When He appeared again he turned to Thomas and said "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!”
What was true for the disciples and the early church, is still true today. Our present lives and our children's lives will
continue to unfold in relationship with Jesus Christ. The same Jesus in the Gospel who loved his disciples is the same Jesus who loves you now!
May God bless you this Easter season!