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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

A Ripple Effect of Love

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My heart has been really heavy for a while. With the wars raging around the world, the continuous onslaught of devastation, and what seems like an endless stream of family and friends experiencing great suffering, there is simply too much to pray for. Too much to care about. Not enough personal agency to do something about all of the needs.

I took this to prayer one evening after having watched a particularly horrific news clip of the Israel – Hammas conflict. I felt helpless. I had donated money to relief organizations. Contacted my congressional representatives. I was praying. I was fasting. I was doing everything I could think to do and it still felt like it wasn’t enough.

And ever so gently Jesus said to me: “My child, you are right. You cannot stop the war in Israel and Palestine. You cannot hug the children who have been left without parents. You cannot go there and physically effect change. But what you can do is look to those around you, love those around you so well that it inspires them to do the same. In this way, you can create a ripple effect of love that reaches all the way across the globe.”

It isn’t our job to fix all of the problems of the world. Absolutely, we should do what we can. But we aren’t the Savior. Our job is to love those around us so well we create a ripple effect of love and kindness that reaches every corner of the world.

Look around you. Who can you reach out to with love and kindness? How can you help create a ripple effect? 

Love Your Neighbor

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“We will find ourselves and come alive when we make a sincere gift of ourselves to our neighbor”

This statement is part of the mission of a local work camp called Love Begins Here, run for middle and high school students. I participated in this camp for the first time a few summers ago as a leader and it changed my life. So many times in Scripture, Christ teaches about laying down your life for another and in the Gospel this weekend we see that even more in depth as Christ speaks about the two greatest Commandments. The first speaks of loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind and second, to love your neighbor as yourself. The two Commandments are really connected together by one word, “gift.” We all have been gifted life, created in the image of God, He formed us in love to give love back to Him, especially through serving others. When we understand the true gift that we have received in simply being created, we can’t help but love the creator, God. And when we see that we ourselves are loved, created in the image of God and gifted life, we would think that it would be easy to look at our neighbors and see that same gift of life. Yet we often find it so hard to love our neighbors as Christ has asked of us. During Love Begins Here, I had the complete joy to work alongside students who made a sincere gift of themselves to love their neighbors in the multiple small tasks they did to help people they had never meet before. We all came alive with such joy in serving our neighbors because God created humanity to love Him and to serve others. As hard as it is to love every person, especially those who have hurt you or who drive you crazy, ask the Lord to help you see Him in each person and you will be amazed at how easy it becomes to love. As you go forth this week I offer you three questions that were given to me to reflect on in regards to living a more other-centered life.

  1. Do I see other people in their struggles?
  2. Am I moved with compassion?
  3. Do I approach them to offer help?

Seeing, letting our hearts be moved, and approaching to help is a three step approach to how we can begin to give a sincere gift of ourselves to our neighbors and in turn love the Lord God even more.

Tags: love

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