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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Divine Mercy Sunday - Second Sunday of Easter

April 19, 2009

Easter Peace!

Today is the eighth day of the feast of Easter, the end of a weeklong celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. Alleluia! Alleluia! The church stretches out the feast into an entire week to emphasize its solemn significance. Pope John Paul II in the millennial year named this day, Divine Mercy Sunday.

We are brought back to the very first day of the resurrection when the disciples, filled with grief and fear, gathered behind locked doors waiting for the furor of the Jewish leaders to die down. At this point, the risen Jesus comes to them and offers them “peace” and then manifests his wounds to them. He wishes them “peace” once more and breathes upon them to so they may receive the Pentecostal Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. Thomas, who was not with the remaining original Twelve, returns the following week and is wished the same “peace” by Jesus and is able to participate in the mission given to the remainder of the Twelve – “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

It strikes me that this peace of Jesus has real power to it and it not merely the idea of peace that we think of in our world. Often we think of peace as an absence of war, tension or conflict or else we may think of it as serenity or contentment. As we see in the Gospel, the peace of Jesus takes away all fear, grief, and shame that can keep us separated from the Risen Lord. It forgives and consoles. It unites and restores. It allows us to go deeper into a personal relationship with the Lord that impels us to bring the story of God’s redeeming action to others. This is not a passive peace, and when we receive it, we are thus sent into the world to spread the Gospel and to forgive or bind the sins of others. What a gift! Prior to this Christ event, forgiveness of sins was only done by God. Now we can extend it to others through Christ because it comes from the Father. We can do our part in bringing God’s love to those in our lives who longingly need it. I’m sure you can think of many who need to hear this good news.

This week’s liturgies

We continue into the second week of Easter by listening to the accounts of the first apostles (the ones who saw the Risen Lord) in the Acts of the Apostles, especially when the Holy Spirit is sent to create the new Christian community. The disciples through this gift are able to overcome all their difficulties to testify to the resurrection. They realize they are living in a new time in human history and they realize that eternal life with God is now a reality.

St. Anselm is honored on Tuesday as the archbishop of Canterbury and a doctor of the church. Anselm was a gifted theologian and philosopher who laid out proofs for the existence of God and wrote about the theology of the Incarnation. His method of theology is summed up in “faith seeking understanding.” Anselm became archbishop of Canterbury in 1093 as part of the displacement of the English hierarchy with Normans following the Norman Conquest in 1066. Let’s remember St. Anselm’s college in Manchester, New Hampshire in prayer.

On Saturday, the church honors St. Mark, the evangelist, who wrote the first Gospel. He is symbolized by the kingly lion as his Gospel opens with the voice of John the Baptist, the lion roaring in the desert, crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Mark journeyed with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, Syria and served as an assistant on a missionary journey.

Dominican Republic

Please pray for the safety of the Cheverus travelers who journey to the Dominican Republic in an alternative Spring Break. Tom Simisky, S.J., and Maureen Curran will lead 10 students from Cheverus into a service and cultural immersion trip as part of their Haiti Solidarity Club. Spring Break

We will pray each day for the safety of each of our students on their April vacations. We pray for their rest and rejuvenation so that they will be focused upon their studies and extracurricular programs when they return next week. Happy Patriot’s Day to everyone.

Cheverus Auction

Please contact me if you would like to purchase a raffle ticket for our annual auction that will be held on May 9th. Tickets are $100.—each and the grand prize is $7,000.--. Tickets are limited. The auction is our prime fundraiser for the year. Please contribute as generously as you can to our auction or to our annual fund.

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