A Letter from Father Tom April 19th

Dear Parish Family,

This Sunday is the wonderful Feast of the Divine Mercy. It was on May 5, 2000 that Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter Divine Mercy Sunday as requested by the Lord in visions to Saint Faustina. It was on the Vigil of this Feast on April 2, 2005 that Pope John Paul II died.

In the diary of Saint Faustina the Lord revealed the following to her:” I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, especially por sinners on that day the very depths of my tender mercy are open….(Diary #699). Our Lord also related to her, “Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion, I am giving them the last hope of salvation that is the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My Mercy, they will perish for eternity… tell souls about the great Mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My Justice is near” (#965).

It is through the diary of Saint Faustina, which she wrote out of obedience to her superiors that we find very rich and mystical reality of the soul’s interior relationship to God. In it we find out Lord wished to communicate to the world the great message of God’s mercy and to reveal the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God and in having mercy to our neighbor. So you may ask what exactly is the message of Divine Mercy?

This message of Mercy is that God loves us all, no matter how great our sins in the past have been. We see His Mercy to King David (who committed adultery and murder) Mary Magdeline ( a prostitute) and the good thief (St. Dismas), to name a few. Our Lord wishes us to recognize that His Mercy is greater than our sins so that we can call upon Him with trust, receive His Mercy and let it flow through us to others. The message of Mercy can be broken down into three parts that are as simple as to remember as A,B,C.

  • Ask for Mercy. We must first realize that God is merciful!He wishes us to ask for His mercy – upon ourselves, our nation and the whole world. Todays Gospel contains the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance, whereby Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to the Apostles on the first Easter Sunday evening.
  • Be Merciful to others, He 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. Remember the beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain Mercy.” We set the limits of how much we want God to forgive us by how much we forgive others each day when we say in the Lord’s prayer, which Jesus taught us,

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We must, therefore, be merciful to others!

C.- Confidence and complete trust in God. The Risen Lord Jesus wants us to trust in Him; to know and truly believe that He is GOD. He is in charge and is a loving God who is infinitely merciful. God does care for you! Last week during Holy Week we recalled how much he cared for us, by dying a horrible death and then three days later rising for the dead – for us. It is for this reason that in the image of the Divine Mercy, Jesus had rays of red (his blood) and white (his water) flow from his heart and Jesus directed Saint Faustina to paint these words “JESUS I TRUST IN YOU”.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the meeting place for this overflowing mercy. During this sad time of the coronavirus, it is not possible for us to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation in Church, or to receive His precious Body and Blood. Perhaps it is reminder to us all, how we take Eucharist, Forgiveness and our faith for granted. People are suffering, and in that suffering we turn to Jesus for healing, consolation and above all his mercy.

I have now a long list of names I lift up everyday in my private Masses. For those who have died, the grief is compounded by our inability to comfort and support one another. Social distancing and isolation can add a stress that doesn’t get filled with Zoom, Facetime or Conference Calls. Our very nature is to be merciful, loving, and reaching out the best and safest we know how. We need to ask Jesus on this special day for how to re-enter to workforce of life, changed, mindful and more confident that we will come out of this better and not bitter. If you have an image of the Divine Mercy, express your sorrow for sin before it. Place yourself into His heart and Ask for mercy. Then be merciful to others and entrust yourself with complete confidence that His love will sustain you.

Some Google suggestions: Bishop Robert Barron’s Easter Homily, Harry Connick Jr,’s tribute to Father Richard Guastella on his Easter Show, Andrea Bocelli’s music from Milan and all over Italy, If you like to take a virtual tour of Sacred Art, especially the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, then there’s a17 minute TED Talk by Dr. Elizabeth Lev. All these are brilliant, insightful and rewarding. Be assured of my love and prayers.

Father Tom Devery