Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)
God’s Divine Mercy Brings Freedom, Healing, and Transformation
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad (Psalm 118:24).
Today is a day of double blessing. Not only do we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday but we also honor Pope John Paul II, who will be beatified today in Rome. In honor of this event, we want to offer some excerpts from John Paul’s first homily as pope, given on the day of his inauguration, October 22, 1978. May his words, his spirit, and his love for Jesus continue to inspire all of us!
“On this day and in this place these same words must again be uttered and listened to: ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:16).
“Yes, Brothers and sons and daughters, these words first of all. Their content reveals to our eyes the mystery of the living God. . . . He who is infinite, inscrutable, ineffable, has come close to us in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem.
“All of you who are still seeking God, all of you who already have the inestimable good fortune to believe, and also you who are tormented by doubt: Please listen once again, today in this sacred place, to the words uttered by Simon Peter….
“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power…. Open wide the doors for Christ…. Christ knows what is in man. He alone knows it. So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.”
Thank you, Lord, for the life of Blessed Pope John Paul II! As we celebrate your mercy today, fill us with hope in you. Help us all to “Be not afraid!”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading from Acts we see the vibrancy of the early church, and as a result, “every day the Lord added to their numbers those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). What were some of the characteristics of the early church that caused it to attract so many people? Which ones would really benefit the Church today, and what steps can you take to help bring them into your local parish?
- The message of the responsorial psalm is one of hope and trust in the Lord, especially in times of trouble. Why do you believe the psalmist was so filled with joy and confidence that he could exclaim, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it” (Psalm 118:24). What can you do to make this your disposition each morning when you first wake up?
- The second reading from 1 Peter is also one of joy in the midst of trials and suffering. What is the basis of this joy for Christians? How often do you reflect on these in your times of prayer or during the day? If you were to increase these times of reflection, what impact would it have on how you lived out your day? What simple steps can you take to cause this to happen?
- The Gospel reading contrasts the joy of the disciples when they “saw the Lord” with the doubts of the apostle Thomas. After appearing to Thomas, Jesus goes on to say that, “Blessed are those who have not seen and believe” (John 20:29). In what way has the risen Lord revealed the truth of who he is to you so that you are able to say, “My Lord and my God”?
- Take a few minutes to reflect on Pope John Paul II’s words in the meditation. What do you believe God is trying to reveal to you through his words?
- What do these words in the last quotation mean to you? “Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. . . . Open wide the doors for Christ.”
- Take some time now and pray that you would experience more deeply God’s Divine Mercy, especially: his freedom from fear, healing, and transformation. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.