in Love, Mercy

The Merciful Love of God

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Divine Mercy Sunday is my favorite Sunday of the whole liturgical year.

Why is it my favorite? Because it points us to the merciful love of God that lies behind the whole Paschal Mystery which we celebrated last week.

The word ‘mercy’ comes from the Latin misericordia, which comes from the two words miseria, meaning wretchedness, misery, or affliction, and cor, meaning heart. The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners, each and every one of us.

Blood and water flow from the side of Jesus as the soldiers pierce his side as he hangs on the cross. The heart of Jesus is pierced, for you and me. The blood of the covenant forever securing my redemption, and water that cleanses me, as I die with Christ in his death and rise with Him to new life.

This Sunday’s gospel is the story of Thomas putting his fingers in Jesus’ side. He gets a pretty bad wrap but, the truth is, that’s you and me, doubting the love and mercy of God every step of the way.

Jesus really died, really rose again, and in his resurrected body he has the scars of his wounds. In Jesus, the prophecy of Isaiah 53:5 is fulfilled. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his wounds we are healed.”

On Divine Mercy Sunday, may we be immersed in the infinite, deep, mercy of God and be reminded no one is too far gone.

Posted by Samantha Taylor
Tags: love, jesus, mercy

He is Not Hear

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“He is not here, he has been raised” (Luke 24:6a). Of all the passages in the bible this is one of my two favorites, the other being the exchange between Jesus and the “good thief.” “He is not here” is short, simple, direct . . . and life changing. It is both mysterious and awe inspiring at the same time. These words of Jesus’ absence from the tomb are meant to comfort.

The first proclamation of the Risen Lord is especially consoling to me and I would venture to others who have lost a loved one. For me, she is not here is a recurrent reality that I still grieve over, even though it has been several years. This time of year, coinciding with the brief illness my wife suffered before her death, always brings me to a special place of attention. Some years, clouds and darkness reign and some years, warmth and sunlight permeate my thoughts. This year, as I pondered the paschal mystery, I stopped on, “He is not here.” It is because He is not here that I can live in joy and hope this Easter season.

Jesus conquered death and, in doing this, opened a way for all who grieve, who have etched into their daily lives that he or she is not here, to experience a place of hope and joy. Because “He is not here,” we can live in this world with a sense of destiny. We do not have to worry as to what will happen to us, what is to become of us. Easter is a time when everything both in heaven and on earth cries out with  new life—a new life we have all been granted as children of God.

I don’t know how the season of Lent has been for you but, from wherever you are coming, it is time to put aside anything that keeps you from rejoicing that He is not here. Step out into the bright morning sunlight and feel its warmth. It is a gift from God, that Jesus our savior and our Lord is not here…He has risen.

Wake Up

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This weekend begins one of my favorite weeks of the Church year—Holy Week. The week that is set apart from every other week, for that is what the word “Holy” means, set apart. We take a week to recall the suffering and death of Christ so that on Easter Sunday, we can celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and the hope of a new life in heaven for each of us. This weekend’s Gospel walks us through the whole account of Jesus’ suffering and death. As I wrote this reflection, I wasn’t sure what I could say that Jesus didn’t already say through His action of suffering and dying. He literally is showing us just how much He loves us. But as I pondered this account of God’s love for humanity, I was struck by a small detail in the Agony in the Garden that I had never noticed. Before Jesus begins His journey, He seeks the solitude of prayer in the garden. He takes Peter, James, and John with Him and then retreats to pray. He then returns three times only to find the apostles asleep. This threefold sleep that we see the apostles taking struck me for the first time because only a short while later, we see Peter deny Jesus three times.

While numbers do play a huge role in biblical history, the reason that the threefold sleep of the apostles struck me is because every time that I reflect upon the passion of Christ, I am caught by Peter’s threefold denial. Peter, who claims that his faith will never be shaken, denies Jesus three times. The seemingly insignificant mention of the threefold sleep of the Apostles is important because the early Church Fathers enlighten us to the fact that this sleep, that Jesus is calling Peter to awaken from, is not bodily sleep by spiritual sleep. His faithfulness to Christ will be tested and Jesus is calling Peter to wake up and be strong against the temptations. We know that Peter does end up falling into temptation and denying Jesus, however, this denial does not lead to death, but to life, as later, after the Resurrection, we see that Peter has the chance to affirm His love for Jesus three times.

As we begin the most sacred week of the year, Jesus is calling us to wake up spiritually, to not succumb to temptations, to not be unfaithful. Jesus walked this path of suffering so that we might know His love, His mercy, and His faithfulness to us. Let us take this week, especially Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, to walk this journey with Jesus. Come sit with Him in the silent garden after Mass on Holy Thursday, let Him strengthen your hearts against temptation. Then come kneel with Mary and John at the foot of the Cross on Good Friday as Jesus died for you, and lastly, come rejoice on Easter as we proclaim with joyous hope that JESUS CHRIST has risen! 

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