Easter hearts and minds…
During Easter adults are baptised into their new Catholic family. For some it was a revelation that they had actually joined a “family”, and not a church.
In the Eucharistic prayer today we pray, “Listen graciously to the prayers of this family, whom you have summoned before you.” And we are asked to pray this Easter week prayer insert: “Strengthen, we pray, in their holy purpose your servants who by the cleansing waters of rebirth (and the bestowing of the Holy Spirit) have today been joined to your people and grant that they may always walk in newness of life. In your compassion, O merciful Father, gather to yourself all your children scattered throughout the world.” Through the sacrament of Baptism, the family of God is increased throughout the world.
Our first reading this Sunday is an image of that new “Easter Family”. “The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common. None of their members were ever in want.”
Reading this new beginning and actually being part of the Catholic family can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable. Why? Because it requires more from us. So many Catholics can fall into the “Sunday Mass attendance only” trap, and they can fail to see the other people in their faith community. Our Lord has asked of us, as a family of believers, to have a sense of responsibility for each other. Our Baptism covenant, if lived well can totally revolutionise our lives as is seen in our first reading. “The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul;”
“Alleluia, Alleluia”, is an expression of our collective joy as our new brothers and sisters are re-born in the waters of baptism and they begin their new family lives with us.
Today is also Divine Mercy Sunday:
“God of everlasting mercy…” is the first line of our Opening Prayer of the Mass today. This prayer comes from the opening antiphon of the old Latin Rite Mass… “The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord”, ”Misericordia domini plena est terra…”
St John Paul II wrote, Jesus said to St. Faustina: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy”. Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity. 22 April 2001: Sunday of Divine Mercy | John Paul II”. www.vatican.va.
Jesus said, “Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize my unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of my mercy; let them profit from the blood and water which gushed forth for them” (Diary, 848).
Sr Faustina wrote that Jesus promised that all who recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the hour of death or in the presence of the dying will receive great mercy. The Divine Mercy chaplet may be said at any time, but it is said especially on Divine Mercy Sunday and all Fridays at 3:00pm.
Fr Andrew Matthew
St Benedict’s Parish