Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31)
Opening Ourselves to Receiving God’s Divine Mercy
This is the one who came through water and blood. (1 John 5:6)
“Throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation … to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that humanity will experience in the years to come.” Twelve years ago, Pope John Paul II used these words to inaugurate Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast to be celebrated every year on the second Sunday of Easter.
The feast came at the urging of St. Maria Faustina, a Polish religious sister and visionary who lived at the beginning of the twentieth century. In her diary, she wrote how Jesus had told her: “I will pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of my mercy… . Let no one fear to draw near to me, even though their sins be as scarlet” (Diary, 699).
During her short life, Faustina received hundreds of revelations about God’s mercy. She knew what it was to feel far away from God, and she knew what it felt like to be very close to him. Weakened by undiagnosed tuberculosis, she strained to carry out even the menial duties assigned to her in her convent. But despite her struggles, she stayed faithful to the Lord, trusting that his mercy could overcome every obstacle. “I snuggle to the heart of God like a baby to its mother’s breast,” she once wrote, describing how trusting in his love brought her immense consolation (Diary, 104).
Today of all days, don’t be afraid to draw near to the Lord. You may suffer trials, you may struggle against temptation, or you may fall into sin. But don’t worry. As St. Peter tells us, we may not see God now, but we can still rejoice because Jesus has done everything necessary to save us. That’s how merciful he is. So celebrate his mercy today—by receiving it!
“Father, I want to rest in your heart as St. Faustina did. I open myself to you, that I might be immersed in the ocean of your mercy and grace.”
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- The first reading says that the first community of believers “was of one heart and mind.” What steps can you take to promote a greater sense of community and unity in your family? In your parish? With other Christians?
- The first reading also says that as a sign of how much they loved one another, the first communities cared for the “needy person among them.” What steps can you take to serve the needy in your parish and in your community? Keep in mind their needs are not just physical (food and shelter), but spiritual as well (experiencing Jesus’ love through you). What additional steps can you take to help them come to know Christ as their risen Lord?
- The responsorial psalm ends with “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.” During this Easter Season of grace, what are the things that you are rejoicing in?
- In the second reading, we hear these words, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God.” Do you believe that you are a beloved child of God through your faith in Jesus Christ? Share some times when Jesus has revealed his great love to you. What impact did it have?
- The Gospel tells us we are not alone or without help in the Christian life we have embraced. In the Gospel, Jesus’ breathes on the disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit. As baptized and confirmed Catholics, we too have received the Holy Spirit. How can you be more open to the Holy Spirit’s work in your life? How can you help to pass this wonderful gift of the Spirit to your family and others?
- The meditation ends with these words: “Today of all days, don’t be afraid to draw near to the Lord. You may suffer trials, you may struggle against temptation, or you may fall into sin. But don’t worry. As St. Peter tells us, we may not see God now, but we can still rejoice because Jesus has done everything necessary to save us. That’s how merciful he is.” What obstacles do you have that can keep you from drawing near to the Lord and experiencing his love and mercy? What steps can you take to overcome them?
- Take some time now to pray for a greater openness to God’s divine mercy. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.