Divine Mercy Sunday

04-27-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Jack O’Kane

Dear Parishioners,

The Church is still rejoicing at the Resurrection of our Lord as we conclude the Octave of Easter today. Easter is too big to be contained by just one day so the Church celebrates for eight days, and since Palm Sunday two weeks ago, the Catholic Church has been in full swing with one big celebration after another. The liturgies at Saint Magdalen's were wonderful and mystical and awe inspiring, reaching their apex on Easter Sunday morning with crowds that overflowed into the narthex at every Mass. How exciting and invigorating to see so many Catholics come out to celebrate their faith. It gives us a foretaste of how things will be in heaven and a look at how things could be here on earth. A special thank you goes out to all who made the liturgies so moving and prayerful and thanks to each of you in the parish for making St. Magdalen's the wonderful place to encounter Jesus Christ. There were so many volunteers involved in decorating the Church, serving at the altar, Lectors, Cantors, and the choir. The list goes on. Thank you!

Today, the celebrations continue with two events – the Universal Feast of our Lord, Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Divine Mercy Sunday falls each year on the first Sunday after Easter. It concludes the octave of Easter. This was our Lord's desire as He revealed it to St. Faustina. Jesus tells us, through St. Faustina, "My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity." He goes on to say, "The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." We know that when we go to Confession we are forgiven, but we still must make amends for our sins. That is what purgatory is for. But on this day, God's Divine Mercy even takes the temporal punishment away from us. No purgatory! That means we are restored to our Baptismal perfection by Jesus Christ. This is a great gift from Almighty God that we are wise to take advantage of and develop a true devotion to the Mercy of Jesus Christ.

This message is in perfect accord with the Gospel message. God is merciful to all who call on Him with faith and trust. How often we hear Jesus say, "Your faith has saved you. Your sins are forgiven." Today in the Gospel He tells His apostles, "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain are retained." People often wonder why they must tell their sins to the priest in Confession; because Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to His priests with those words. He also told St. Faustina, "I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy." I urge all of you to come and celebrate the devotion at 3:00pm Sunday (today) and to call upon the Divine Mercy of God. If we desire to go to heaven then we will not allow this treasure from God to go unopened!

The Church also celebrates the canonizations of Pope John Paul and John XXIII today. How fitting for St. John Paul II to be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday. He was a champion for its universal celebration in the Church. He believed the main reason for his elevation to the papacy was to promote this devotion and revelation to the world. In 2005 he died on the eve of Divine Mercy. He has been connected with the Mercy of God for so much of his priestly life, it is no wonder that he be connected to Divine Mercy in his sainthood.

May the entire Church honor these saints and all the saints as we strive to become saints ourselves. May the Divine Mercy of God assist us and strengthen us and restore us to holiness on our journey to heaven. May God's mercy bring you Peace. May all the joy of our Risen Lord be upon you and your families throughout the Easter season.

In Christ, Fr. Jack