He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed! I just want to thank everyone who turned out for Holy Week this year. It was so good to finally see almost everyone back in Church. It’s been a long road, but it’s good to see things beginning to return to the new normal. Of course, as I said last Sunday, that means that all of us are going to need to step up and welcome back all those who have been away for the past year as they start to return.
Along with the joy of Easter comes those Easter events in our Church where we celebrate those special moments in people’s lives. I’d ask you to pray for the couple who’s wedding I witnessed over in Patton on Saturday, so congratulations to Bethany Anna and Levi Miller on their wedding. Levi was baptized here at Prince of Peace. I’d also ask you to keep in your prayers this year’s confirmation class. We have seven in our class this year and they will be confirmed here at Prince of Peace on Thursday April 15th. Then, a little later this month on Sunday April 25th, our three 2nd graders will be making their first communion. Please keep all of them in your prayers as well
Next weekend, we will have a special even t for our parish. We’ll be visited by a group called the “Good Shepherds of Bethlehem.” They’re a family from Bethlehem. (The real one in the Holy Land, not the one in Eastern PA) They sell hand-made olive wood religious sculptures to help support their parish in Bethlehem. Their wares will be available after all masses next weekend down in the parish hall. Please stop down to support them.
This weekend we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Divine Mercy was revealed to St. Faustina and written in her diary up until her death in 1938. Then, it was made popular by Saint John Paul II just as she was canonized in the year 2000. Her canonization happened right as our parish was being founded. Probably the simplest summary of the message of Divine Mercy can be summed up with A, B, C.
A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.
C - Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that all the graces of His mercy can only be received by our trust. The more we open the door of our hearts and lives to Him with trust, the more we can receive.
Those three principles make up the message of Divine Mercy. One of my favorite expressions of the idea is simply asking ourselves, “Do I really think that my power to sin is greater than God’s power to forgive?” Of course it isn’t. Yet, God respects us. “He who made us without our willing it, will not save us without our willing it.” His mercy is always there for us, but we do have to ask for his mercy. Then, having received his mercy, we’re called to share that mercy with others. Knowing that, we’re able to put our trust in Jesus. The more we allow him in, the more grace we’re able to receive.
So this week, as we celebrate Divine Mercy, I’d encourage all of us to really ask ourselves just how much space I really leave for Jesus in my life. Am I open to allowing him to really come and help change me, letting go of the junk that I cling to, and instead opening up more room for Him to live inside my heart.
God Bless You
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.