Reflections on Divine Mercy Sunday

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31) 

The Witness of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II 

Many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. (Acts 2:43)

“Miracles.” What does this word bring to mind for you? Spectacular healings? Multiplication of food? Suspension of the laws of nature? Signs and wonders relegated to biblical times? As Catholics, we have living proof that miracles are not things of the past. Every time a new saint is canonized, we are reminded that miracles still happen. We see in these saints evidence of God breaking into our world and transforming people in concrete ways! 

Today we celebrate the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, two modern-day examples of God’s power to perform miracles—and not just the physical healings that have been attributed to their intercession. Who could deny the miracle of John XXIII opening the Church to the modern world and speaking timeless truths in a new way to a world that desperately needed it? Countless lives were changed around the globe because of what he did. Countless people—unbelievers as well as believers—stood in awe of how vital the Church is and how active a role it can play in the world.  

And who could not but stand in awe of the largely bloodless way that the walls of communism came down during the papacy of John Paul II? Or think of the lives that were touched when they saw him forgive the assassin who tried to kill him. The world looked on in amazement!  

As we are inspired by the lives of these two holy popes, we know there’s always more of God’s mercy. Even now, two thousand years after Christ’s birth, we see just the beginnings of how God wants to inspire awe in the world! So together let’s celebrate Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II—and let’s keep expecting miracles! 

“Thank you, Father, for the lives of John Paul II and John XXIII. Thank you for touching the world through their witness. May their lives continue to move people to love you as they did.”

(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.)

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

  1. In the first reading from Acts we see the vibrancy of the early church, and as a result, “every day the Lord added to their numbers those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). What were some of the characteristics of the early church that caused it to attract so many people? Which ones would really benefit the Church today, and what steps can you take to help bring them into your local parish? 
  2. The message of the responsorial psalm is one of hope and trust in the Lord, especially in times of trouble. Why do you believe the psalmist was so filled with joy and confidence that he could exclaim, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it” (Psalm 118:24). What can you do to make this your disposition each morning when you first wake up? 
  3. The second reading from 1 Peter is also one of joy in the midst of trials and suffering. How would you describe the basis of this joy for Christians? How often do you reflect on these in your times of prayer or during the day? If you were to increase these times of reflection, what impact would it have on how you lived out your day? What simple steps can you take to cause this to happen? 
  4. The Gospel reading contrasts the joy of the disciples when they “saw the Lord” with the doubts of the apostle Thomas. After appearing to Thomas, Jesus goes on to say that, “Blessed are those who have not seen and believe” (John 20:29). In what way has the risen Lord revealed the truth of who he is to you so that you are able to say, “My Lord and my God”? 
  5. The meditation opens with these words: “’Miracles.’ What does this word bring to mind for you?” How would you answer this question? 
  6. The medititation goes on to say that “Every time a new saint is canonized, we are reminded that miracles still happen.” What does this mean to you? How does it apply to the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II?  
  7. Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for the witness that John XXIII and John Paul II are to the Church and to the whole world. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

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

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