Acts 2:14, 22-33; Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-10; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35
For me, this is the second most beautiful and powerful story about Easter Sunday. The first reading today is Peter’s sermon to the Jews who had gathered around the Upper Room at Pentecost. One hundred and twenty apostles and disciples broke out of the room after they were set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit. The second reading is again from St. Peter‘s first letter telling us that the Blood of Jesus sets us free from sin and death.
Dear Holy Spirit, please light your fire of understanding and courage with St. Luke’s story of Easter afternoon and evening.
Two disciples, even after hearing the stories of the women who found the empty tomb, did not believe Jesus had risen and left Jerusalem. As they walked and sadly talked of the events, a stranger came up to them. Why didn’t they recognize Jesus? He explained to them the purpose of those events from the scriptures. At dusk, they went into an inn and were going to eat. When Jesus blessed and broke the bread, they knew who he was. He vanished and they quickly went back to the Upper Room with their story.
If I tell you the rest of the story I only feed you as you read this. If I encourage you to read the actual text, Luke 24:13-35, and then go back to read St. John 20:19-23, and read the last part of the Easter Sunday story, you can feed yourself for the rest of your life. If you pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, lights will go on in your mind and your heart will be burning with the love of God for you. Three questions may come up in your mind. Why didn’t they recognize Jesus? Why were their hearts burning? When did they recognize Jesus? And how was his glorified body different than before?
Because the prayers Jesus teaches us are so important, I shall include in this post what I wrote about last week. The Divine Mercy devotion began when Jesus appeared to Helen Kowalska, a poor Polish farm girl who only had three and a half winters of education. She finally entered the convent of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. She was given the name, Sr. Faustina. Jesus appeared to her asking that she be his secretary of Mercy / Love. Jesus said, “I have opened my heart as a living fountain of Mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust.” (Diary, 1520) Jesus further said, “On the Cross, the fountain of my mercy was opened wide by the lance for all souls – no one have I excluded!“ (Diary, 1182}
Jesus continued to teach Sr. Faustina what he wanted us to know in the world today. Jesus has given us several channels from which we can gain more of his mercy for ourselves, our country, for special intentions and the whole world. This is a quick summary of his revelations that are fully approved.
1) Jesus reminded us that the greatest channels of his love are at Holy Eucharist, Mass, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where our sins are washed away.
2) He also gave us a new picture of himself with red and pale rays flowing from his h heart with an inscription at the bottom, “Jesus I Trust in You.”
Feast of Divine Mercy
3) Jesus wanted the first Sunday after Easter to be called, the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope Saint John Paul II added this new name to this Sunday. Jesus said, “On that day the very depth of my tender love are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of my Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and their punishments. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to my Mercy.” (Diary, 300) In 1986 the Vatican changed the Plenary Indulgence guidelines so confession time can be 20 days before or after these requirements of confession, usually due to the number of priests able to hear confession at the Divine Mercy services on that Sunday. An Our Father and Creed are also said for the Pope’s intentions.
4) He told us that the greatest hour to pray, after the Mass, was at 3 p.m., the time he died on the cross. “At three o’clock, implore my mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in my passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. …In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the souls that make a request of Me in virtue of my passion.” (Diary, 1320)
5) Jesus also gave us a new 9-day novena in which each day we bring a different group of people in the world and place them for special blessings into his heart. I pray that almost over day all year long for the world is so much in need of God’s Mercy.
6) Jesus also gave us a simple yet great gift in a new rosary. It is prayed on regular rosary beads, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It only takes about 6 minutes to say and there are no mysteries to think about. With this chaplet we can bring various situations to Jesus for his blessing of love and conversion not just “the whole world.”
Chaplet of Divine Mercy
These are very simple tools, which we can use to be filled up with more divine power for ourselves and help Jesus make the world a better place of love to live in. Most of these prayer forms and times only take a few minutes of our twenty-four hour day. The most frequent prayer is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It only takes about six minutes. The Blood of Jesus sealing this directive. If you pray the chaplet for troubled spots in the world, do not verbalize that intention so the evil spirits don’t know what you are praying for. We help convert many “terrorists” with that prayer. I believe it is our greatest spiritual weapon.
Chaplet of Divine Mercy: Begin with an “Our Father,” “Hail Mary” and the “Apostles Creed.”
On the Our Father bead, say, “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
On the Hail Mary bead say, “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
At the end, say, 3 times: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
The new picture of Jesus is amazing. He said the rays from his heart are “highways.” Get on one and go directly into his heart; direct access. Amazing, yes? Have a great week filled with all the blessings you are able to receive from Jesus.
Risen Jesus blessings,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)