The Breath of Peace

Pentecost Sunday (B)

 There are different ways people join groups:

a) Leaders of tribal people make blood compact so that their tribes may become friends, protect one another, be able to marry from the other tribe peacefully and be at peace with everyone;

 b) Neophytes of some fraternities have to suffer beatings and other forms of physical pain for the enjoyment of their leaders and the older members so that they (neophytes) can join them, be protected from other groups and remain friends, supposedly for life;

 c) In a foreign country, persons of the same culture and belief tend to get along and become friends;

 d) In the social sphere, people of the same interest and aspiration tend to get along.

However, St. Paul tells us that “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). We did not have to cut our skin to make a blood compact with God, in fact, it was Jesus who suffered lashes for our sake. We did not have to suffer beating, in fact it was Jesus who suffered beatings and carried the cross, so that we could be protected from the evil one and become heirs of His Kingdom. Jesus came down into the world so that by His death we can have life. On top of these, Jesus sacrificed Himself to be our Bread of Life in the Eucharist. Our friendship with God is a blood compact, but with the Blood of Jesus. It is also a beating of our hearts in repentance for our sins against Him and against our neighbor. Our baptism in the Church is a baptism of water and the Holy Spirit to wash away our sins and the sins of the world, so that we can become worthy children of God.

 In our Gospel today, Jesus does three very significant actions:

1st, despite closed doors, Jesus comes in the midst of the Apostles and says, “Peace be with you.” In the midst of their fears, fear of the Jews, fear of disowning Jesus, fear of their incompetence, Jesus came to them, and in all probability, Jesus was there with them all the time.

We have our own fears: fear of economic breakdown, fear of our social disorder, fear of violence, fear of wars and calamities, fear of political oppression, fear of the evil one, and many others. But we know that Jesus is always present. Many times we do not recognize Him or probably we have driven Him away because of our sins. Many times we ignore Him. Yet He is always there. And He can break through the barriers that we have set up due to our pride and negligence in our responsibilities.

2nd, with another greeting of Peace, He gives the Holy Spirit to His disciples. With His peace in their hearts, they now could bring His peace to all and could proclaim that Jesus has risen from the dead.

The Spirit of God is given to us in the sacraments, initially at Baptism and at Confirmation. God’s Spirit is also present in all who strive to seek Him and earnestly work for the common good. He is given to us and lives in us, so that we can strive to seek God and to do good for His Glory and for the good of all. Because the Spirit of God is given to us, all the days of our lives are, or at least should be, joyful days of the Resurrection and Pentecost. St. Basil writes: “The power of the Spirit fills the whole universe, but He gives Himself only to those who are worthy, acting in each according to the measure of his faith” (from the treatise On the Holy Spirit).

3rd, He breathed on the Apostles and gave them the power to forgive and to retain sins. In creation, when God breathed into the nostrils of the clay that He formed, man became alive, created in His own image and likeness to share in the joy of His Kingdom.

We are also sent. We cannot simply remain in our comfort zones. Jesus sends us to the whole world to be His witnesses, to preach His life and make disciples of all nations. He wants peace to reign in our hearts through the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, from which we receive the mercy of God, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is the Bread from Heaven for the life of the world.

With Mary, who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and became the Mother of Jesus, let us ask God to fill us also with His Spirit. Let us also ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the ways of Jesus. As we pray at the consecration of the bread and wine that the Holy Spirit come upon the gifts, we also pray that He comes into our hearts and consecrate us to be His faithful witnesses in our responsibilities and relationships.

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The Hope To Pursue

Ascension of the Lord (B)

Today’s world situates us in one or more of the following: first, in a world of high technology, where our capabilities and our time are spent, and we become willing subjects of its fast pace; second, in situations of war and violence, calamities and misfortune, where, despite our weakness and incapacities, we do what we can, and entrust our lives to fate; and third, in situations where everything seems well provided for, and all we have to do is follow the directions of the influential and the knowledgeable.

However, in his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul teaches us that in Jesus we have a great hope, immeasurable riches and unparalleled power.

 1. “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened that you may know what the hope is that belongs to his call” (Eph 1:18). This hope is Jesus Himself in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His call is His constant invitation “to be holy as the Father is holy.” Thus we respond to His invitation to live in union with Him in our responsibilities and relationships.

2. “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened that you may know…. the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones….” (Eph 1:18b). This wealth of glory is Jesus Himself and all the virtues that we possess in His name. He is the inheritance of the Kingdom promised by the Father to those who remain faithful to Him.

3. “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened that you may know…. the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe” (Eph 1:18a&19). This power is Jesus Himself and all the accompanying signs that are made manifest in those who proclaim His Name and who live according to His commands. This power has the greatness that no creature or technology can surpass; it is the Power against evil and sin; it is the Power against mediocrity and indifference. He is the Power from whom all authority, capacity and competence are derived.

The Ascension of the Lord brings out the truth of our Christianity and our humanity. On one hand, Jesus came to the world, lived among us, suffered, died and rose again from the dead. On the other hand, because of the Life of Jesus in us, life here on earth is not meaningless, we understand the meaning of our endeavors and of suffering and we have joyful hope in the life to come. A letter to Diognetius reveals that Christians

live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens…. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven….

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.

In Jesus, poverty is our way to being filled with God’s riches. With open hands and hearts He can fill us with His wealth and His power. In Jesus, wealth of virtues is our way to holiness and to His Kingdom. In Jesus, the greatness of His power is the strength in our weakness and our shield against evil and sin.

In union with the apostles, who were promised signs that would accompany their faith, we can also expel the demons of hatred, anger, lust, arrogance and indifference, and bring peace. In the midst of hatred and envy, we can also speak the language of compassion and sacrifice. We can also pick up the serpents of loneliness and depression, harsh judgment and persecution, and proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus with joy and gratitude. We can also drink the poison of criticism and mistreatment, and bring forgiveness and hope. We can also lay compassionate hands on the lonely, the misguided, the ignorant, and the needy, and open up their hearts to joyful hope. We can also extend our hands where there is much anxiety and conflict, so that divisions are healed and emotions calm down.

Thus, the Ascension of the Lord will not just be for us an event to remember, but a life to be lived and a hope to pursue. The Eucharist presents to us a life of hope that saves, a hope that is realized only in Jesus, and a celebration that we proclaim for the life of the world.

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Messengers of Hope

Sixth Sunday of Easter (B)

1. We are messengers of hope. Wars, calamities, poverty, economic crises, family and personal problems, anxieties, etc., can obscure the horizon of hope and can bring despair, frustration, anger and situations of demoralization. In situations like these, we can either dwell badly on the discouraging present situation or continue to be fully dedicated to our responsibilities and relationships in the hope of a brighter tomorrow. The Church always proclaims hope for all; and our Holy Father, in his travels, always brings and proclaims the hope that only Christ can give. In the midst of all the difficulties in life, we have Christ as our hope, and as His faithful disciples, we are messengers of hope in this world.

In his homily delivered in the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of St. George in Amman, Jordan on May 9, 2009, Pope Benedict said,

we set out to lead people from the desert towards the place of life, towards the Lord who gives us life in abundance…. your presence in this society is a marvelous sign of the hope that defines us as Christian…. That hope reaches far beyond the confines of our own Christian communities…. Yet, with your eyes firmly fixed on Christ, the light that dispels all evil, restores lost innocence, and humbles earthly pride, you will sustain a magnificent vision of hope for all those you meet and serve.

2. We are friends of God. A friend is one who manifests concern and love towards his neighbor. A person who does not show signs of love and visible acts of concern may be one who loves himself only, does things for selfish interest and does not know God. St. John tells us: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love” (1Jn 4:7-8). In line with this, St. John also urges us: “let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1Jn3:18).

When we wish to visit a friend, a sick person, an elderly, a poor neighbor or a group of needy children, the first thing that we ask ourselves is: what can I bring? What can I give? There are many things that we can do or afford to give: food, clothing or assist them in education, throw a party and promise them a few things. But the best thing that we can actually do is to bring them into close friendship with Jesus. Sincerely in our hearts, we can visit the sick, comfort the afflicted and the dying, teach the ignorant regarding moral values and godly ways, admonish sinners and other works of mercy and bring people to Jesus and to the Church.

This is what Peter did to the household of Cornelius. Peter brought that pagan household to belief in and friendship with Jesus. We live in a world of paganism, where many people do not want to work in the presence of God, where people want to eliminate God in their lives, or where people just disregard God. In our actions and relationships, we can consciously lead people to friendship with God. We can talk less of ourselves and our achievements and reflect and talk more of the wonders and blessings of God in peoples’ lives. We can be less cynical and judgmental of others so we can bring courage and love to the weak, the discouraged and the exploited. We can try to be less distracted by worldly things so we can spend a little extra time in study, in prayer and in church activities.

3. Pope Benedict XVI, in his address at the Regina Pacis Center in Amman, Jordan on May 8, 2009, said:

Prayer is hope in action…. we come into loving contact with the one God, the universal Creator, and in so doing we come to realize the futility of human divisions and prejudices and we sense the wondrous possibilities that open up before us when our hearts are converted to God’s truth, to his design for each of us and our world…. In our own trials, and standing alongside others in their struggles, we glimpse the essence of our humanity, we become, as it were, more human. And we come to learn that, on another plane, even hearts hardened by cynicism or injustice or unwillingness to forgive are never beyond the reach of God, can always be opened to a new way of being, a vision of peace.

The Eucharist makes us grace-filled messengers of hope in this world. Let us ask God to make us His worthy friends as we try to make our world a place where Jesus is Lord and Savior for all.

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Pruned To Bear Fruit

Fifth Sunday of Easter (B)

Society today tends to teach us extreme individualism whereby people set their hearts in the “pursuit of personal happiness and independence rather that collective goals or interests” (Dictionary). It also demonstrates the “belief that society exists for the benefit of individual people, who must not be constrained by government interventions or made subordinate to collective interests” (Dictionary).

Today Jesus leads us to an understanding that life has meaning and fruitfulness only in Him and with Him. By using the picture of the vine, Jesus teaches us the following:

  1. In this world no one can live by himself only, neither can anyone live apart from God, the Almighty. A branch, to have life and to bear fruit, has to remain in the vine. Jesus tells us that “anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned” (Jn 15:6). A Christian, in order to bear fruit, has to remain in Jesus. How can he afford to be separated from Jesus when he has already been baptized in Him and made heir of the Kingdom. Only he who deliberately detaches himself from Jesus through sin will lose his inheritance of the Kingdom.
  2. People come from the same God and belong to one another. The fruit of the vine always grows in cluster. No person just pops into the world without being born through the relationship of persons. He grows physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually in a family and in community. God wants people to grow in the Church as family. Jesus proclaims: “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:4-5).
  3. People’s capacities and blessings are for the good of all and not for the benefit of a few only. Selfishness has no place in the Kingdom of God. Grape is processed as wine to be served at the tables of families. The fruit of the vine was used by Jesus and the Apostles at the last supper. We use it in the celebration of the Eucharist, so that as Church, we can grow in the love of the Lord, for as often as we do it, we do it in memory of Him. When we celebrate the Eucharist we re-live the redemption that Jesus came and died for us, we grow in His life, we grow in love for the Church and for one another, and we joyfully anticipate our second life in His Kingdom.

Our readings today point out the signs of being with Jesus:

  1. Believing in the Lord. Belief leads to seeing the Lord, for to those who believe and obey His commands, the Lord lives in them and leads them to the Father. Their lives will not be without fruits of the Spirit that lead others also to faith in the Lord.
  2. Remaining in the community of disciples. Yes, to be with Jesus is to be with His loved ones, His faithful followers, and to be nourished by the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Their lives become sweet songs of hope and love among brothers and sisters proclaiming the presence of the Lord.
  3. Proclaiming the life of Jesus. Just as the disciples could not contain the life of Jesus in themselves, Christians joyfully proclaim their joy in prayer with the community especially in the celebration of the Eucharist and in other church celebrations, because Jesus is risen from the dead and has appeared to the brothers.

How do we remain in Jesus?

  1. In prayer. Personal prayer and prayer with the Church lead us to the Heart of the Blessed Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit open themselves to us so that we can enter into relationship with them, just as Jesus promised that God will live in those who are faithful to Him.
  2. Participation in the sacraments and in the life of the Church. The sacraments are nourishing gifts that Jesus left for us to strengthen us daily in our journey to the Father.
  3. Loving obedience to God’s will. God’s commands are not burdensome. In fact they are the lifeblood of our relationship with Him through faithful and honest relationship with our families and with others, fidelity to our responsibilities, and openness to opportunities of growth in holiness.
  4. Allowing God to prune us. God works in us at all times, and in suffering He is close to us. He makes us more fruitful through the suffering that we joyfully offer to God for others, and in the works of mercy that we gladly perform in solidarity with the needy, for God rewards the cheerful giver and brings consolation to the long-suffering and enduring person.

In our celebration of the Eucharist, we proclaim the Lord’s life, His death and resurrection and our participation in His gift of life to us. May the Eucharist ever bind us to Jesus and bring us the joy that we seek, and as long as we celebrate Easter we pass over with Him from merely craving for earthly things to faithfully striving for the things of heaven.

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The Good Shepherd

Fourth Sunday of Easter (B)

Today, the 4th Sunday of Easter, is also called the Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also a World Day of Prayer for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life for the life of the Church.

The shepherd is given the care of the sheep. He makes sure that not one of them is lost or dies of starvation. He leads them to abundant pastures and leads them to shelter. He defends them from wild animals that may kill them. He must know his sheep individually, and establish if one is missing or hurt. Some reasons are the following:

  1. Sheep are dependent. Not only do they need a shepherd to provide nourishing food, clean water, and safe pasture, but they depend on someone else to help them when they are in a helpless state.
  2. Sheep are defenseless. They are easy marks for wild animals; they are harassed and helpless without a shepherd; they have short, weak, leg muscles, poor eyesight and dwarfed horns; they are very vulnerable.
  3. Sheep are directionless. A sheep moves with his head down, taking small steps, following his nose to tasty fodder; he moves from one blade to another; when lost, he can’t find his way home; once he is found, he has to be literally brought back to the fold.
  4. Sheep are easily distracted. A breeze kicking up leaves will so distract and frighten the sheep that a stampede ensues; what distract them most are parasites and insects that torment them (Adrian Rogers, The Lord is My Shepherd: Reflections on God’s Loving Care, 1990).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He knows us by name. He protects us from the enemy, the devil, through his teachings and inspiration. He preserves us from evil through the sacraments. He guides us through His Words and through the teachings of the Church. He feeds us and strengthens us especially through the sacrament of the Eucharist and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. He always makes sure that we are animated in Him through prayer, works of faith and mercy, and honest relationships. The reasons are:

  1. We are very dependent. We need God, the Church and others. We tend to work in a society without God or like to build a world without God. However, the Psalms tell us: “If the Lord does not build the house in vain do its builders labor. If the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil” (127: 1).
  2. We are defenseless. We need the protection of God. We are very vulnerable to the devil’s attack. We are inclined to trust human leaders because we tend to like them even if they are not founded on God and on Christian principles. We are easily misled. But the Psalmist prays: “You are my father, my God, the rock of my salvation” (89:26). St. Peter also tells us in the Acts of the Apostles: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (4:12).
  3. We are directionless. We like to wander. Like the Israelites who wandered in the desert, we wander away from the ways of God. We usually go in circles and lose our way. We complain. We do not listen. And Jesus tells us: “the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (Jn 14:26).
  4. We are easily distracted. We focus on the insignificant, and we make the same mistakes repeatedly. When we lose our focus on God, the devil easily takes over. The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us: “Do not admire the achievements of sinners, trust the Lord and mind your own business; since it is a trifle in the eyes of the Lord, in a moment, suddenly to make the poor rich” (11:21). Jesus says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me” (Jn 14:1).

As we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, let us ask the Lord to give us pastors according to the Heart of the Good Shepherd. Let us also ask Him that we become obedient sheep, humble followers, like the obedient Son of the Father. Let us take part in the work of our parishes to educate and rear the youth in the life of the Church so that they will learn to love the work of our Savior. Let us earnestly pray that we learn to love the Church more so that vocation to the Priesthood and to the Religious Life will grow in our families.

Let us then thank our Father, as we celebrate the Eucharist, for giving us Jesus, our Good Shepherd, whom we receive in Holy Communion, and who always desires to be with us, in our families and in our relationships.

God bless you all.

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Witnesses To The Ends Of The World

Third Sunday of Easter (B)

After the Resurrection, Peter urged the people and their leaders: “Repent…. and be converted, that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19). Before Jesus started His public ministry, John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mk 1:4). Jesus, at the start of His ministry, called out: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). And this is the Church’s constant and universal call to all: repent, believe, and be converted.

A priest told this story: a painter used to thin his paint with some paint thinner so that his painting work would go far and more economical on his part. One day he got a job for his lowest bid for a church. Towards the end of his work, while he was standing on the scaffold, rains came and thunder roared. He fell, and saw that the paint was coming off the walls. In fear and trembling he knelt and prayed: O God, forgive me. From the skies he heard these words: repaint, repaint, and thin no more!

So, who needs conversion?

1. The disciples of Jesus needed conversion. They had to transform their down-heartedness and fear of the Jews into the courage in the way of life that Jesus was leading them: obedience to His commands and Spirit-filled preaching of the Gospel. The disciples needed the confidence in Jesus so that they could live and preach the Gospel faithfully as authentic witnesses to His life, death and resurrection.

2. The Jews needed conversion. As Peter said, they acted out of ignorance, though their guilt was just as condescending and as sinful as their leaders’ by preferring the release of a murderer and killing the author of life. Now they must repent and turn to God, so that their sins would be wiped out (cf. Acts 3:19). They needed that faith and conversion to realize that they were part of the promised salvation. But they missed the Messiah when He came and they crucified Him in exchange for a murderer.

3. We need conversion. To be Christian means to be converted to Christ, and to walk in His ways. In his first letter, St. John says, “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn 2:4). It is, therefore, not enough to believe; it is necessary to combine works with faith. Good works make faith in Jesus more convincing.

Conversion should have a permanent quality and should be sustained permanently with the faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. Without this conviction, our faith is uncertain. Sin, any sin, big or small, venial or grave, is a rejection of the Holy and Righteous One and a crucifixion of the author of Life. Sin breaks that bond (with God) that has to be permanent. Sin raises us up to turn against Jesus who has defeated sin on the cross and has risen from the dead. When the devil overtakes us and we submit to him, we again cry out for the release of Barrabas in our hearts, instead of asking for the Author of Life. Sin makes of us ungrateful children, and liars, who do not keep the commandments of God. We need the constancy in faith and trust in Jesus. How can we live with sin when we have already died to it and we have risen with Christ particularly in the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and the Eucharist? However, St. John says, “if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 2:1-2).

God does not forsake us; we just have to trust Him. Just like the Apostles, we are troubled about many things of the world. There are many questions that arise in our hearts. In many instances, it seems that in our relationships, we see ghosts. But Jesus greets us with His peace. It is not a situation that can be pacified with money, nor a condition that can be rectified by power, nor a relationship that can be worked out with influence. It is the peace that comes from genuine obedience to the commands of God and from an honest relationship with God in prayer and in works of mercy for others. It is also the peace that emanates from an authentic relationships and participation in the life of the Church, especially in the celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. This peace is Jesus Himself.

Let us then celebrate this Eucharist as His people with open minds to understand the Scriptures; and as His people, whose sins are forgiven, let us be His courageous witnesses to the ends of the world.

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The Divine Mercy

Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) – B

Today’s feast of the Divine Mercy of Jesus brings out of us tremendous faith and peace:

a) faith, because without it we cannot approach Jesus whose only way of life is the way of obedience;

b) peace, because it is God’s desire for us here on earth. On the birth of Jesus, the angels sang: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill. At His apparition after His resurrection, Jesus greets His disciples: Peace be with you. Even before Holy Communion, the priest greets you that Christ’s peace be always with you. Peace is what we want. Through our faith, peace is what He gives. How do we seek that peace?

There are certain rules that temporal society follows today:

1. Wealth and fame are our prestige and honor. You need sizable properties and fat bank accounts so that you can merit recognition in society. The more you have the wider your scope of recognition.

2. Truth is what you can explain and justify. People who know the law and the in’s and out’s of the law can find their way in and out of the rule of today’s society. If you can explain and justify getting something that you did not earn, that thing may be yours. If you can explain and justify taking the life of the innocent or the weak, you are free. If you can even explain and justify that there is good in evil, then you go free. And many more.

3. “Each to his own.” Everyone has his own concerns, worries and problems. Let others take care of themselves. So nobody is really part of anybody. Nobody is his brother’s keeper.

How can we have peace amidst these situations? The Resurrection of Jesus teaches us the following:

1. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). The Apostles and the first Christian community really put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, not only because of the many signs they saw and experienced, but also because of their growth in love for one another and of their experience of a prayerful spirit in their community. They had the peace of Jesus.

2. “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33). Their witness to the life of Jesus carried with them many signs of His presence through their teaching and through miracles of healing and unity, despite the many difficulties they had to undergo in the name of Jesus Christ. The community of believers proclaimed and experienced the peace of Jesus.

3. “There was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). They lived as brothers and sisters. They brought all their wealth and resources together, and distributed them according to each one’s need. In that first community of Christians no one had abundance, neither was any one in a situation of need. And God blessed them with more brothers and sisters. With this, they were at peace with one another and with the world.

What does Jesus ask of us?

1) When celebrating the sacraments, celebrate them with undivided trust and love for Jesus Christ.

2) When reading and praying the Scriptures, pray and read them in the Holy Spirit who enlightens us so that we can understand what God is telling us.

3) When fulfilling our duties, do them in the spirit of gratitude and in participation in God’s creation.

4) Our Lord Jesus, on this feast of His Divine Mercy, desires sincere repentance of sins, confession, devout reception of the Eucharist and constant acts of mercy to the needy. And when praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, concentrate on the Blessed Trinity: the Eternal Father, the Passion of His dearly Beloved Son, the Holy Spirit who moves us to pray and dedicate ourselves to God; focus on the Passion of Christ, especially for the salvation of the world, on what He can do through us, especially through our works of mercy. Remember, when we focus on Jesus, the Father’s heart opens and pours out His mercy on His people.

The Easter season leads us to the great acts of salvation that Jesus wrought for us. He not only did things for us; He also does many things through us so that the Father’s love will be recognized and accepted in the world where suffering seems to be unending, and where people want God to be eliminated. In the Eucharist we are reminded that as often as we break bread together we do it in His memory; and this is salvation.

May the mercy and peace of Christ remain always with you.

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