This weekend concludes the Octave of Easter! Is is the eighth day, the day of the new creation. It also includes a gospel that refers to an event on the first octave day of the resurrection. It reports an appearance of Jesus and his reappearance a week later. Thomas, absent from the first, present for the second, makes a profound statement of Easter faith: "My Lord and my God."
On the Second Sunday of Eater of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II proclaimed to the world that "from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday." Pope John Paul had actively promoted the message of St. Faustina. In his 1980 encyclical on God's mercy, "Rich in Mercy," he developed a scriptural and doctrinal basis for our faith in the mercy of God. By linking the revealed truth about God's mercy to one of the most solemn Sundays after Easter itself, he illumined the fact that the liturgy already proclaimed the divine mercy. The truth has been embedded for two millennia in the worship of the Church. On the Second Sunday of Easter, the gospel begins with the risen Christ appearing to the apostles on Easter night. Jesus calms his disciples by saying and giving them "Peace." Then he breathes on them and explains what the divine breathing means with the words, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." He give the apostles the power of God's mercy for the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God's treasury of mercy. From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday to the Eighth Day of Easter, the divine mercy of God through the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. The tables of Word and Sacrament are heaped with the promises of Divine Mercy and its grand effect in the lives of millions. Our friends and neighbors at St. Peter's in Forest Lake are hosting Divine Mercy Devotions on Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 pm along with many Catholic churches throughout the Twin Cities.
Again, I would like to thank everyone who pariticipated in our Holy week liturgies. I was impressed by all who gathered for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. I was edified by those who had their feet washed and washed another's feet, (especially the families!) and all who remained in prayer for the stripping of the sanctuary. I was impressed by all those who throughout the night and day spent an hour in prayer during the Prayer Vigil in the Historic Church. On Good Friday, I was moved by all who devoutly prayed the Stations of the Cross in the afternoon and those who listened to Saint John's Passion and venerated the cross in the evening. I was deeply touched by the experience of celebrating the mystery of christening through the sacraments of Christian Initiation during the Easter Vigil and I was overwhelmed by all who gathered to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord and who responded with enthusiasm as we renewed our baptismal promises during our Easter Masses. I heard lots of wonderful compliments on how wonderful the music was and how beautiful the church was decorated. I would like to again thank the dedicated women and men who enhance our celebrations by cantoring, singing in the liturgical choir or playing a musical instrument. If you are interested in joining the choir or playing a musical instrument during Mass, please give Andrea Grasse a call. I would also like to thank Mary Ann & Jerry Lund, Bob Loew, Bob DeBlieck, Barb Wiemann and Julie M. for decorating the church for the Easter season and the staff for all their hard work throughout the building making sure that everything was clean and organized for the Easter weekend.