Knowing Christ & His Message through Scripture, the Catechism, & the Catholic Church

What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

What is Divine Mercy Sunday? What is Divine Mercy?

Since 2000, the second Sunday of Easter has also been known as Divine Mercy SundayOn the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II proclaimed to the world that “from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.”  Pope John Paul II had made “mercy” a theme of his pontificate.  In 1980, he wrote an encyclical on mercy, entitled, “Rich in Mercy.”  Therefore, it is not surprising that he would want a Feast in honor of God’s mercy. Why, however, did he choose the Sunday after Easter? He did this in order to highlight the fact that the Church’s liturgy is already proclaiming what God had revealed about His mercy to Faustina.

On the Second Sunday of Easter, the responsorial psalm and Gospel for Cycles A, B and C center on the theme of mercy. In Psalm 118 we sing three times, “His mercy endures forever.” The Gospel, from John 20:19-31, begins with the risen Christ appearing to the apostles on Easter night. Jesus calms his disciples by saying and giving them “Peace.”  The Gospel continues: Then he (Jesus) breathes on them and explains what the Divine breathing means with the words, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” He gives the apostles the power of God’s mercy for the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy.

In his sermon for the canonization, Pope John Paul II highlights Faustina’s writings on mercy, as well as our call to live the message.  Here are some excerpts from a sermon given by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska on 30 April 2000 (Vatican web site).

From the diary of a young Polish nun, a special devotion
began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. TheImage result for jesus hugging
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. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.

AAsk for His Mercy. God wants us to approach
Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and
asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon
the whole world.

BBe merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy
and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to
extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does
to us.

CCompletely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know
that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our
trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will

Read more:

Divine Mercy Chaplet

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

The Disciples were filled with Joy & the Holy Spirit!

Image result for John 3:16 quotes

The Easter Season continues

If we are believing Christians, we know that Christ has won our salvation for us…We have reason to be joyful! If only we faithfully accept God’s great & loving gift. Let us, therefore, be faithful to the One who has loved us unto death.

This season of joy is highlighted in the Acts of the Apostles. So, it should come as no surprise when we read in the Acts of the Apostles that: The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Even though they had just been persecuted & thrown out of the area… they had the Holy Spirit within them – & were filled with joy! 

Image result for death where is your sting - Christian - quotes

As a disciple of Christ, can we say the same?

Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Be Joyful!

Image result for be filled with the holy spirit


We know the outcome…

We know that God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) love us.

All we have to do is: Ask for the Holy Spirit — Love God in return, & love our neighbor (be kind to all, be patient with all, do not think ourselves better than others…).

Today is a good day to reflect on how faithful, how joyful, & how loving we are. Are we living the Easter message?  Do we ask the Holy Spirit to come to us… to be with us … to guide us in all we do? Do we need to make changes?

Image result for Come Holy Spirit

“My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior” (Lk 1:46:47)

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Where is my Lord? The Easter Season Continues!

Where is my Lord?

Greetings in Christ! As the Easter Season continues, I think back to my childhood.  Growing up, one of my family’s traditions was the hiding of Easter baskets and Easter eggs. When we got home from Easter Sunday Mass, we knew that if we wanted to partake in all of the Easter goodies – chocolate, different flavored jelly beans, and more chocolate – we would have to find our Easter basket.

For those of you who think I am going to talk about the joy and anticipation of this tradition – you are mistaken. I dreaded the Easter basket hunt and the Easter egg hunt later in the day, even though there was monetary reward involved with the latter.

Everyone else in my family loved these traditions. My own children love doing something similar.  So, why did I find it so dreadful? To put it quite frankly, I often have difficulty finding things that are not in plain site. Unfortunately, sometimes even when things are in plain site, I still don’t see them.

Perhaps it will come as no surprise then that the Easter story which touches me most is from the Gospel of John (20:13). Mary Magdalene is weeping outside the tomb where Jesus was laid. Some angels, whom Mary doesn’t recognize as such, ask her why she is crying.

“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” The Gospel continues: She turned around and saw Jesus standing , but did not know that it was Jesus.

He was so close – right in front of her – but she did not recognize Him. It is not until Jesus says her name, “Mary,” that she is able to recognize Him.

Jesus is risen. Truly risen! He lives and He is present to us. Do we seek Him? Are we open to recognizing Him, especially as He calls us by name? or – Do we just assume that we are better off not searching because we can’t readily see Him?

Jesus is always with us. Sometimes it will be easy to see Him, other times, not so easy. As a child, my dad would go stand by my basket, or by where some of the eggs were hidden, and all he would have to do is gently say my name, and I would know that the treasure was very close. I was then able, by his quiet guidance, to quickly discover that which I previously could not detect. Even though I acted as if I didn’t care, once I found my Easter treat, I was filled with joy!

Our faith teaches us that the Crucifixion is not the end of the story. Christ lives and is present to us. He calls us each by name, and wants us to find Him – daily.

May we open our eyes and our hearts to the many ways He calls us, so that like Mary Magdalene, our weeping can be turned into great joy and happiness. We, then, can in turn share the Good News, as Mary did with the Apostles: “I have seen the Lord!”

Wishing you many Easter graces and blessings as we continue our faith journey together!



Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Rejoice! Christ is Risen!

Image result for Easter - Jesus

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.”

—CS Lewis



Image result for Easter - Jesus


Search no longer…


Happy Easter… Let us celebrate, not just for one day, but for a Season & for a Reason — we have found the answer… & the answer is Christ!

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed…  Jn.20:1-9

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

For God So Loved the World…

Image result for god so loved the world

 Good Friday: A special REMEMBRANCE of God’s Love

Lent is a time for us to slow down, reflect on our relationship with Christ, & His great love for us.

Fridays during Lent, are dedicated in a special way, to honoring God’s great love & the  Good Friday manifestation of this Love…by Jesus’ Death on a Cross… for our salvation.

“Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life.”   Pope Benedict XVIImage result for god so loved the world

How much time have you spent allowing God’s Word to penetrate your life?

Are you reflecting on: Who you are? Where you come from? Where you must go? What path you must take in life?

The Gospel of John is a great place to begin… click on the underlined link to help guide you.  Reading, hearing, meditating on Jesus’ Passion & Death is not very comfortable, but it is necessary.  It gives us time to know Jesus more deeply.  It allows us to have a glimpse of what love is willing to do; of what love is capable of doing.

For God So Loved the World…


Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

The Cost of Betrayal: Spy Wednesday…

Click for video meditation


One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. Mt 26:14



Image result for spy wednesday catholic

Click for video meditation


What does Judas’ betrayal mean to us? To you? To me?  Do I betray Christ?  What type of “silver” am I choosing?  I encourage you to click on the images & reflect on the message of the videos…

This is the holiest of weeks…do I understand what Christ has done for us, for me?  Am I prepared to celebrate in His victory?  Am I prepared to walk with Him to Calvary so that I can share in His victory, His Love, His Life…?

Let us take time over the next few days to be with Jesus. Let us reflect on Scripture, talk to Jesus, and listen to Him.  

Image result for Judas - fulton sheen

As the events of Holy Week intensify, are we prepared to be known as "criminals?" Do we stand by Jesus?

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Palm Sunday… Holy Week

Palm Sunday, is the official entry into Holy Week, the last week of Lent. In Catholic tradition, the conclusion of the week is the Easter Triduum. The Easter Triduum begins Thursday evening of Holy Week and concludes with the Easter Vigil.

On Palm Sunday we observe the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The crowds who were in Jerusalem for the Passover welcomed the proclaimed King by waving palms as He entered the city.

The irony of His acceptance as the new King by the crowds – who would only five days later cry for His execution – should be a sobering reminder of the human tendency to want God on our own terms.

Let us take time this week to meditate on all the Christ has done for us – His road to Calvary – and the events and actions by those closest to Him & by those who claimed to know His Father. Click on image below for a short video meditation.

Almighty God, grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness may draw the breath of new life from the passion and death of Your Only-Begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.



Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Temptation: Ours & Jesus’…

Image result for Jesus 3 temptations

Image result for Jesus 3 temptations

Mk. 1:12-15; Mt. 4:1-10

“In answer to modern requests for signs and wonders, Our Lord might say, ‘You repeat Satan’s temptation, whenever you admire the wonders of science, and forget that I am the Author of the Universe and its science. Your scientists are the proofreaders, but not the authors of the Book of Nature; they can see and examine My handiwork, but they cannot create one atom themselves (without using the matter I have created). You would tempt Me to prove Myself omnipotent by meaningless tests…You tempt Me after you have willfully destroyed your own cities with bombs by shrieking out, “Why does God not stop this war?” You tempt Me, saying that I have no power, unless I show it at your beck and call. This, if you remember, is exactly how Satan tempted Me in the desert.

I have never had many followers on the lofty heights of Divine truth, I know; for instance, I have hardly had the intelligentsia. I refuse to perform stunts to win them, for they would not really be won that way. It is only when I am seen on the Cross that I really draw men to Myself; it is by sacrifice, and not by marvels, that I must make My appeal. I must win followers not with test tubes, but with My blood; not with material power, but with love; not with celestial fireworks, but with the right use of reason and free will.” Fulton Sheen

Image result for Lent  Jesus with me

If in Christ we have been tempted, in Him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of His victory? See yourself as tempted in Him, and see yourself as victorious in Him. He could have kept the devil from Himself; but if He were not tempted He could not teach you how to triumph over temptation. St Augustine

When you face temptation, what do you do? Do you turn to Jesus? Do you seek assistance…Divine assistance? When you fail, do you get up & continue on the journey?  Lent is about success & failure…getting up & trying again… in & with Jesus!


Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Lent: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return. Gen 3:19. Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.. Mk 1:15

Ash Wednesday: Wednesday, March 1st

 Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.

When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Facts, figures, and dates about Ash Wednesday. Make this Lent count – Prepare your heart, mind, soul, & family for a glorious Resurrection – a preparation for eternal life – where love & happiness are ours forever with our God who loves us so much that He came & suffered and died for love of us—- not because He had to, but because He loves us & wanted to. What are we willling to do for Him?

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Loving the Other: Lasting Relationships

We are in the season of love.  Valentine’s Day is approaching.  The Church is celebrating National Marriage Week, which Archbishop Chaput points out is not just for married couples. He says,  This week long celebrations “provide an opportunity to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.”

Image result for lasting relationshipsIt seems when talking about relationships, the most asked questions is, “How can you possibly make it last?”

Relationships can be hard.  It can no longer be just about “me.”  It by its very definition must be about “we.”  Sometimes each of your hopes and dreams and abilities work together.  However, sometimes (and maybe a lot of times), they don’t.  The U.S. Bishops have dedicated a lot of time and resources to this subject.  The even have a great web resource titled  One of the areas this website looks at is difficulties that might be faces in a relationship.  

Image result for realistic expectations

The website list such things as: addictions, career & employment issues, conflict, disillusionment, finances, household duties, illness,infertility, infidelity, in-laws.. to name a few.  How will you handle these things?  Will you be able to step outside of yourself and find an approach that encompasses and embraces the thought, feelings, and capabilities of both of you?

Image result for realistic expectationsIn the “we” of a relationship, the reality is we may not both be strong at the same time.  We both may not be rational at the same time.  We both may not be fully committed at the same time.  This is where the concept of realistic expectations is key.

A lot of couples think they know each other well. My guess (and experience) is that there is a lot that isn’t known.  If you did not live in the same house as your partner, if you didn’t attend the same school(s), don’t work in the same location, or be with them 24/7 since they were born – there is a lot you don’t know.  You don’t know all the experiences which have shaped who they are and how they think.  This is a fact, and part of realistic expectations. This is where the “we” is key.  There has to be communication about how things are done.  You might think you know how they are going to react because that is how they “always” react, but there may be something new in their lives, or a trigger that causes an old behavior to appear.

As I bring this article to a close, I encourage you to visit an article on the foryourmarriage website.  The article is title Perseverance:Love never ends  They list 3 characteristics of lasting couples:Image result for happy couples

      1. The ability to hope
      2. The ability of both spouses to sacrifice for a better future
      3. Faith—in themselves, in one another and in God
I would like to add the 4th – Realistic Expectations are critical.
          iv.  Realistic Expectations  Where are you at in developing & maintaining a strong, lasting relationship?

Related image

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not… 1Cor13

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off
M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2012