Reflections from the Shrine ...
May the Risen Christ shake us to the foundations of who we are personally and who we are as a Church
It has been about 14 years since I left Argentina having worked there as a La Salette Missionary for 18 years. Those years profoundly changed my life in several aspects. I began to see our Church not just as the Church in the United States but as a global Church. I grew in my own prayer or spiritual life as I saw the deep faith and the love of the people of Argentina. I also grew personally as I came to better understand and love not only my own American culture but also the culture and traditions of the Hispanic people.
I express all of that as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday because I trust that as we grow more and more in our trust and love of the Lord, and more importantly, his boundless love for each one of us, we are slowly changed personally as we experience God and God's plan for our troubled world. As Peter, John and Mary Magdalene were changed through their daily contact with Jesus, so too we are changed. I frequently feel deep gratitude for my time as a missionary even though they were often both joyful and difficult years. How do you feel about your personal relationship with the Lord, or God as you understand God? Has it been in the same place for several years or is it growing amidst the challenges of our daily faith journey?
All the Scripture readings for today shout out to us of the mercy of God if only we are able to listen and reflect on what God is expressing to us. Even though the disciples are still hiding behind locked doors "for fear of the Jews" Jesus appears among them and mercifully says: "Peace be with you." He shows them his hands and his side as a reminder of what he has suffered for them in his infinite love.
Then Jesus breathed on them and said to them; "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." In other words, he institutes the Sacrament of Confession which is such a clear sign that God is ready to forgive us even "seventy times seven."
Finally he shows Thomas awesome mercy but also a gentle rebuke for his doubts in Jesus. The response of Thomas in love and gratitude is one of the briefest but very beautiful prayer: "My Lord and my God."
As we progress in our Easter Season of joy and new hope, I wish you a prayer filled celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday. May our Risen Lord continue to transform us and our local and global Church by his unconditional mercy.
I encourage you to think about making the Light of the World Retreat that will be offered here at La Salette Shrine, May 5th to the 8th. It is a great aid not only to deepen our faith in God but also strengthen our connections to our parish communities. In the back there are applications to fill out. Then return them to Brother David or myself. We are continuing our Scripture reflections every Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 11:30 AM. We are very pleased with the good response of the people. You are free to take home any of the literature at the back of the Church for Divine Mercy Sunday - for yourselves as well as for family and friends. Father John Sullivan M.S.