Sunday, April 3, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

“One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.”  — John Stuart Mill

“Divine Mercy Sunday” is the title given by St. Pope John Paul II to the first Sunday after Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord.

The saint’s complete support of and personal devotion to Jesus under the title of Divine Mercy probably was due, in large part, to his knowledge of St. Faustina Kowalska, who was canonized by him on April 30, 2000.

A great part of the message is expressed by the artistic image of Divine Mercy. In this image, rays of light (or waves of energy) shoot out from the heart of Jesus. The message clearly declares that the mercy of Jesus Christ is showered upon absolutely everyone.

Jesus’ mercy, grace and love are really limitless; the message and season of Easter celebrates this so powerfully in his love from the cross, a love without any limits or conditions — pure total love, available to all!

Who would not want to hear or know this message? How could a Catholic not be drawn closer to this reality? What could possibly prevent a person from surrendering without any question to such love and mercy?

The Gospel today might give some insight.

The apostles — except Thomas — were gathered on Easter night.

Suddenly, Jesus stood in their midst.

“Peace be with you,” he said.

They were overjoyed.

When Thomas re-joined them, they burst with joy and excitement over the news of Jesus’ resurrection.

Thomas doubted: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail-marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

There you have it!

To be fair, it was a rather incredible testimony. A strong man, Thomas, wanted or needed something more than some hysterical testimony. After all, everyone had been through a lot since the previous Thursday!

Thomas got his wish. To his credit, he experienced the risen Lord and responded with profound faith: “My Lord and my God.” He went from zero to 100 instantly.

We have 50 days of Easter until the great feast of Pentecost to experience, savor, understand and open up to these great mysteries and an even greater faith.

To those little corners of doubt and misunderstanding, Jesus himself wishes to speak: “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

What better Sunday than this to experience with Thomas — doubting, questioning, seeing, hearing, receiving, believing in the all-loving, all-merciful, Jesus the Christ!

Alleluia!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email perry.leiker@gmail.com. Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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