Divine Mercy Sunday
“This is the day the Lord has made… let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24) We sang these words with passionate faith last Sunday as we celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection, and rightly so, because on Easter Jesus did what we ourselves cannot do. Only God can make that day happen! The joy of that Easter day spills over into a week of feasting called the Octave of Easter (the 8 days), culminating in this Sunday’s celebration of the Octave Day, or the Second Sunday of Easter. From the earliest centuries of the Church, this first week of Easter has held special importance because the joy of Easter could not be contained or summed up in a single feast day. Pope John Paul II added the observance of “Divine Mercy” to this ancient feast in 2000, based on the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish Nun who experienced visions from the Risen Jesus. Mercy is at the heart of the gospel message, especially in the joy of Easter. The Divine Mercy devotion will be offered this Sunday afternoon. All are welcome to come together to give thanks for the message of mercy.
Throughout the Easter season, we will read from the Acts of the Apostles, which give us a glimpse into the early Church from the perspective of Peter and Paul. I mentioned on Easter Sunday that the book of Acts is like the “social media” of the first century, as we hear about the Apostles’ travel, their preaching, their miracles, and even their struggles, disagreements, and imprisonments. Today we hear about the vitality of the Church in those days: “great numbers of men and women were added to them” and “many signs and wonders were done among the people.” For us, we rejoice this Easter as we welcomed nine new members of the Church at the Easter Vigil, and five others celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. Over the next few weeks, more than 80 children will receive the Eucharist for the first time, and more than 70 young people will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. The “signs and wonders” performed in our midst are the daily acts of service, charity, pastoral care, and teaching that take place in our parish. Indeed, the Risen Lord continues to be manifest among us!
I am grateful for the hard work of so many volunteers and the dedicated work of our staff during Lent and throughout Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum that enabled our acts of service and charity and our worship so prayerful and inspiring. It takes a lot of planning and the work of many hands, and I continue to be moved by the dedication and the faith of our community in doing the Lord’s work day in and day out. It is a joy and honor for me to serve as your pastor, and I give thanks for the abundant blessings in our parish.