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Reflections for Sunday, April 15, 2012

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31)

Opening Ourselves to Receiving God’s Divine Mercy

This is the one who came through water and blood. (1 John 5:6)

“Throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation … to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that human­ity will experience in the years to come.” Twelve years ago, Pope John Paul II used these words to inaugu­rate Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast to be celebrated every year on the sec­ond Sunday of Easter.

The feast came at the urging of St. Maria Faustina, a Polish religious sister and visionary who lived at the beginning of the twentieth century. In her diary, she wrote how Jesus had told her: “I will pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of my mercy… . Let no one fear to draw near to me, even though their sins be as scarlet” (Diary, 699).

During her short life, Faustina received hundreds of revelations about God’s mercy. She knew what it was to feel far away from God, and she knew what it felt like to be very close to him. Weakened by undi­agnosed tuberculosis, she strained to carry out even the menial duties assigned to her in her convent. But despite her struggles, she stayed faithful to the Lord, trusting that his mercy could overcome every obstacle. “I snuggle to the heart of God like a baby to its mother’s breast,” she once wrote, describing how trusting in his love brought her immense consola­tion (Diary, 104).

Today of all days, don’t be afraid to draw near to the Lord. You may suffer trials, you may struggle against temp­tation, or you may fall into sin. But don’t worry. As St. Peter tells us, we may not see God now, but we can still rejoice because Jesus has done every­thing necessary to save us. That’s how merciful he is. So celebrate his mercy today—by receiving it!

“Father, I want to rest in your heart as St. Faustina did. I open myself to you, that I might be immersed in the ocean of your mercy and grace.”

(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

 

  1. The first reading says that the first community of believers “was of one heart and mind.”  What steps can you take to promote a greater sense of community and unity in your family? In your parish? With other Christians?
  2. The first reading also says that as a sign of how much they loved one another, the first communities cared for the “needy person among them.”  What steps can you take to serve the needy in your parish and in your community?  Keep in mind their needs are not just physical (food and shelter), but spiritual as well (experiencing Jesus’ love through you). What additional steps can you take to help them come to know Christ as their risen Lord?
  3. The responsorial psalm ends with “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.” During this Easter Season of grace, what are the things that you are rejoicing in?
  4. In the second reading, we hear these words, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God.” Do you believe that you are a beloved child of God through your faith in Jesus Christ? Share some times when Jesus has revealed his great love to you. What impact did it have?
  5. The Gospel tells us we are not alone or without help in the Christian life we have embraced.  In the Gospel, Jesus’ breathes on the disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit.  As baptized and confirmed Catholics, we too have received the Holy Spirit. How can you be more open to the Holy Spirit’s work in your life? How can you help to pass this wonderful gift of the Spirit to your family and others?
  6. The meditation ends with these words: “Today of all days, don’t be afraid to draw near to the Lord. You may suffer trials, you may struggle against temp­tation, or you may fall into sin. But don’t worry. As St. Peter tells us, we may not see God now, but we can still rejoice because Jesus has done every­thing necessary to save us. That’s how merciful he is.” What obstacles do you have that can keep you from drawing near to the Lord and experiencing his love and mercy? What steps can you take to overcome them?
  7. Take some time now to pray for a greater openness to God’s divine mercy. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

[Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at (Enable Javascript to see the email address) (Enable Javascript to see the email address) or (Enable Javascript to see the email address) (Enable Javascript to see the email address).]


These reflection questions are provided courtesy of The Word Among Us.


  • noelfitz

    Recently I have started informal meetings in our parish to reflect on the Gospel readings of Sundays. These meetings are based on Lectio Divina.

    The next meeting is tomorrow night and in preparing for it I have used this article by Maurice Blumberg. It is excellent and I hope I may be able to share some of HIS great insights at our meeting.

    I am grateful to Mr Blumberg and CL for sound reflections.

    Please pray for our meeting that they may be positive and helpful.

  • Tarheel

    Sounds great Noel. I have found that reading the gospel prior to going to Mass, allows me to get more out of the Mass.

    This men’s group started here in Mobile AL several years ago and is growing all over now. Check out the website.

    http://menofstjoseph.com/

  • noelfitz

    Tarheel, many thanks.

    Our pastor is very supportive.

    We are trying to set up a Parish Pastoral Council and I suggested we have the Lectio Divina meetings. So the priest encouraged attendance and suggested to me that if I want people to come I should personalty invite them.

    So I hope tomorrow goes OK.
    In our Sunday Letter and on our web site we have
    “REFLECTING ON MASS READINGS
    An informal meeting will be held on Thursday 12th April at 8pm in Conference
    Room 2 in the church, to consider and reflect principally on the gospel for the
    Second Sunday of Easter (15th April, Divine Mercy Sunday) John 20:19-31. Those
    interested are very warmly encouraged to attend.”

    You might like to look at http://newtownparkparish.com/index.htm

    Thanks for the site you gave me.

  • Tarheel

    I will most definitely visit the website. One of the “beauties” of The Men of St Joseph” is that the goal of it to “Put the family in the hands of the Father”. In other words helping men to become the spiritual leaders of their families.

    When we meet each Tuesday Morning, one of us will lead the discussion on the gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday. Many men have commented (along with myself) that this seemingly simple process truly enriches the celebration of the Mass. Liturgy touches the soul even more, homilies soothe, comfort, and stir up feelings to act.

    The Eucharist, it has always been special for me but since Men of St Joseph I cannot put into words just how much more this sacrament means to me.

    If the men in your parish want to grow in faith, consider starting a Men of St Joseph chapter.

    I like you parish web site. Do you have popcorn at the movie? I saw that movie years ago. I loved it.