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4/16/2023

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,

Many thanks to all those who helped make our Holy Week so beautiful. There are a lot of moving parts that go into our many liturgies, many of them behind the scenes. Thank you!

We celebrate today Divine Mercy Sunday. “It is important to review the meaning and historical significance of the day. On the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the Canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

“St. Faustina was a Polish nun who received visions from Jesus, including one of Jesus wearing a white garment with beams of red and white coming from His heart, which came to be known as the image of Divine Mercy. She wrote in her diary that He said:

‘I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it… My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.’ ” (Taken from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception)

There are two things that are the best to celebrate this day—receive mercy and give mercy. First is to run to Jesus for forgiveness. Pope Francis said it the best: “The God of mercy, He does not tire of forgiving. We are the ones who tire in asking for forgiveness.” This is especially true of the sacrament of confession—may we never get tired of asking Him. It doesn’t matter if we are struggling with the same sins—the time we stop coming to Him for forgiveness and grace is the time we stop fighting. Then that sin, whatever it might be, becomes an accepted part of our life. This day is an invitation to victory, to letting Jesus be victorious in us.

Second is to forgive someone else who has wronged us. We pray every Mass: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” Forgiveness is a choice we make with the Lord that we don’t want to carry this hurt, pain, bitterness, and anger around anymore. We can’t undo what has been done to us, but we can take that from our own hands and place it in Jesus’ hands. In us, unforgiveness only creates a poison that will slowly destroy us. Placed in the Lord’s hands that same anger and hurt can be turned into a prayer for the very person who has harmed us. Unforgiveness is perhaps the greatest block in the spiritual life. Use this simple prayer: Jesus I forgive ___ for ____. That last blank is the most important—be specific, no matter how long the list. Let this be a day of mercy.

God Bless

Fr. Todd

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