Reflections for Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Acts 10:34,37-43; Colossians 3:1-4; Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23; John 20:1-9)

Divine Mercy, Jesus’ Gift to Each One of Us

My Lord and my God! (John 20:28)

When a child is conceived in the mother’s womb, one cell is knitted to another. The parents’ genes combine in a way that can never be separated, and they create an entirely new DNA—a new being is created that is special and unique. This is an appropriate image for today, a day set aside to celebrate God’s divine mercy.

In modern usage, the word “mercy” is usually identified with compassion and forgiveness. When we offend someone or make a mistake, we hope that the other person will forgive us—will have mercy on us. But divine mercy goes much deeper than a pardon for our sins. In fact, the Hebrew word for “mercy,” rahamin, speaks of the intimate attachment between two people. And so as we honor God’s mercy today, we celebrate not only our forgiveness but the bond that our Father has with us. We celebrate the fact that we are so important to God that he wants to be knitted to us in an intimate, unbreakable bond.

Today, imagine God saying, “I’ve forgiven you, my child. Now won’t you come back to me? You are flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. You belong to me, and I belong to you. So let’s make our relationship right. Let’s make our relationship go deeper than before. Let me shower you with my mercy, even as you offer me your praise and your love.”

So come to Jesus and welcome his mercy. Rest in his presence and let him rest in your presence. Commit yourself to him and let him bind himself to you. Imagine him weaving his heart with yours. Listen to your own heart beating and know that his heart is there as well. Believe, even if you don’t see the evidence right now, that he is filling you with his Spirit. Believe that he has hope, joy, and peace waiting for you. Hear him telling you that even if a mother could possibly forget her nursing child, he will never forget you (Isaiah 49:15).

“Jesus, I trust in you. Knit yourself into my being.”

(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. In the first reading, we read of the many signs and wonders that were performed by the apostles. What impact did these have on the people? What was the fruit of them? Do you believe that signs and wonders have a role to play in the Church today? Why or why not? How has your life been impacted through divine miracles or healings in your life?
  2. In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist sings the praises of the Lord with these words, “His mercy endures forever.” How have you experienced God’s mercy in your life? Is there someone in your life that may need your mercy and forgiveness? Are you willing to give that person a gift thst he or she (or any of us) does not deserve – your forgiveness?
  3. In the second reading, we read of John’s exile to the island of Patmos, because he “proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony for Jesus” (Revelations 1:10).  If you went on trial for proclaiming God’s word and giving testimony for Jesus, would the prosecutor find enough evidence to convict you? Why or why not? What can you do now to create more “evidence”?
  4. In the Gospel, why do you think Thomas refused to believe the report on Jesus’ resurrection from the other Apostles? What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29)? What is the basis of your faith in the Lord? Does it rely on visible signs or an inner certainty that Jesus Christ is Lord?
  5. The meditation reminds us that “as we honor God’s mercy today, we celebrate not only our forgiveness but the bond that our Father has with us. We celebrate the fact that we are so important to God that he wants to be knitted to us in an intimate, unbreakable bond.” In what ways have you experienced this aspect of God’s divine mercy? What steps can you take to strengthen your relationship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus?
  6. Take some time now to pray that your faith and trust in Jesus’ divine mercy toward you, and a’ll those close to you, would increase. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a 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 (http://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  mblumberg@wau.org or mblumberg@aol.com.