Life-in-Christ

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
receive.

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/backgr.htm#ixzz2PZkefsh2

Divine Mercy Chaplet

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Hit the road…for Jesus!

“I have been sent by the Lord Jesus Who appeared to you on the road.”
–Acts 9:17

Saul went to Jerusalem and then to Damascus to arrest those who were “living according to the new way” (Acts 9:2). The exact translation is “those living according to the way,” or even more precisely, “those living according to the road.” Ironically, Jesus appeared to Saul on the road (Acts 9:3) when Saul was about to arrest those “living according to the road.”

Saul’s conversion was not the only one to begin on the road. The Ethiopian eunuch took the gospel to the ends of the earth (see Acts 1:8) after he was converted on the road in his chariot (Acts 8:26ff). On the afternoon of Jesus’ resurrection, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus “said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning inside us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’ ” (Lk 24:32) “Then they recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know Him in the breaking of bread” (Lk 24:35). After Mary received the Holy Spirit and became the mother of God, she hit the road and brought Jesus and the Spirit to Elizabeth and her pre-born baby, John (Lk 1:39).

Jesus, Mary, and Paul were on the road. The early Church called herself “the road.” The message is: Life is a road-trip, the Church is a road-house, and our job is road-work. Go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come to Jesus (Lk 14:23). Hit the road for the risen Jesus.

Above Reflection Taken From: http://www.mycatholic.com/reflections/

The Easter Season Continues…

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Rejoice! Christ is Risen!

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

—CS Lewis

 

 

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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

Search no longer. Christ is the answer!

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For God so Loved the World…

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 Good Friday: A special REMEMBRANCE of God’s Love

Holy Week 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…

 

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Spy Wednesday: The Cost of Betrayal…

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

 

 

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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.  

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

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Palm Sunday: Entering into 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.

 

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How is your Lent going? Are you having the best Lent ever?

I want to share a Lenten resource with you.  However, first I want to share what I am doing this Lent, which will explain why I am not regularly blogging.Image result for let god turn your world upside down - scripture

  1. I am intentionally spending more time with my family: going to movies, eating more with them, riding bikes when the weather is nice, watching a Harry Potter movie marathon with my son, taking my daughter to the library for a date day… I am trying to focus more of my time & energy on them, rather than crossing off items on a list every day.
  2. I am trying to focus on God & my need for Him to give direction to my life, rather than attempting to fix it all myself.  I have made the short prayer – “Jesus, I trust in You…” a regular part of my day…
  3. I am trying (not always successfully) to say no to all the other requests for my time that are taking me away from my family & my #1 resolution noted above.
  4. I am reflecting with Matthew Kelley on how to make this the Best Lent Ever!  click on this link:  http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/ 

The reflection for March 7th was entitled “Upside Down.”

If you let Jesus turn your life upside down, you will be happier than you ever imagined was possible. And you won’t just have happiness—you will have joy!Image result for Jesus transforming

This is what Jesus does. He radically transforms the lives of the people he encounters, by rearranging their priorities. Perhaps that is why we avoid a deeply personal encounter with Jesus, because we are afraid of that radical transformation. But you will look back a few years from now on things you thought were so very important today and realize that they were not—and that your new priorities have more truth, beauty, and wisdom.

Are we proactively seeking Jesus? Are we making an effort to experience him? Are we curious about him? Are we in a hurry to meet him? Are we happy to welcome him? What change is your heart prescribing for your life?  Are you proactively seeking Jesus out? or Are you just stumbling upon Jesus at different moments & in different experiences of your life?  Is Jesus really a priority in your life?

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Laetare: We should be joyful, we know the outcome…

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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.  The Church pauses & reminds us, during our Lenten journey, to celebrate this victory won for our salvation: “Laetare Sunday” or, in English, “Joy Sunday.”

 

 

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                 Be Faithful! Be Joyful!

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We know the outcome…

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

All we have to do is: 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.  Do we need to make changes?

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

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Lent: A time to look at your faith response…

Lent is a journey... a journey of faith.

Faith requires a response... a response from us; a response to God.

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper. Jer 7:23

God is calling; He is revealing Himself; He guides us along the path of life.  There is a question we must answer... there is a response we must make... What is your Faith response?

What will your Faith response be?  Are you walking toward God, away from God, or with God?

If today you hear God's voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95)

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The Annunciation: …& the world waited…

The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated today. March 25.  Lk 1:26-38

The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply On the Annunciation & Mary’s “fiat”

Homily by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

A detail of the pulpit next to the papal altar in St Peter’s basilica, Vatican City, depicting the Annunciation.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

Be it done unto me according to your word. Luke, Chapter 1

 

 

The world waited for Mary’s response… Is God awaiting yours?

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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2018