Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday Mass with Bishop Strickland - 4.19.20
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Bishop Strickland during Sunday Mass.
Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...
JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN. HAPPY EASTER!
I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU ANOTHER INVITATION
This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter. We are still in the Easter Season. It began on Easter Sunday and continues for fifty days until we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church in the Upper Room.
In our first reading we will hear the end of the Second Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. This wonderful book, written by the Apostle and Gospel writer St Luke, shows us the effects of the Resurrection on the early believers. They began to live differently. In fact, before they were even called Christians, they were called "The Way" because of this. We hear of the elements of their new way of life. Christianity was not simply something they "did" on Sunday, the Lords Day for those early believers, it changed their entire way of life.
In our Second Reading, the Apostle Peter, the head of the Apostles, the first Pope, continues this theme reminding the early Christians, and reminding each of us, that they have all been given a new birth, a new beginning, and a living hope because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As he explains, that does not mean there will not be struggles in this life. There will be but what changes is us - IF we truly give our lives to Jesus Christ and allow Him to live His Life through us.
The Second Sunday of Easter is "Divine Mercy Sunday" in the Roman Liturgical Calendar. The Gospel for the Liturgy (John 20: 19-31) recounts another one of the Post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ to his disciples. The glorified Jesus appears to his disciples, coming through locked doors and says "Peace be with you." He breathes upon them the Holy Spirit, creating them anew. He also communicates His authority to forgive sins to the Apostles who will continue His redemptive mission through the Church, which is His Body.
However, Thomas was not present for this encounter. This encounter led to Thomas being called "Doubting Thomas" by some. Yet the tradition tells us that this so called "doubting Thomas" died a martyr for his faith. He became a messenger of Mercy to India, a missionary who shed his own blood for the Master whom he encountered on that day. His insistence on touching the Holy Wounds presented the Disciple John another opportunity to explain for all of us the implications of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As the whole world continues through the difficult days associated with the effects of the COVID 19 or Coronavirus, and millions are unable to physically participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, my Bishop, Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in private, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
We invite you to join, virtually, with the faithful throughout the world in prayer and worship in an online experience of Holy Mass. Let us pray that the Lord, in His Mercy, reach out from heaven to heal those afflicted with the virus - and intervene by the Power of the Holy Spirit - to bring an end to its devastation.
Let us pray for the Church - and for all of her clergy and faithful - that she would be a witness to the Power of Living Faith in Jesus Christ and share the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world steeped in fear and darkness.
Let us pray for those in Civil leadership, that the Lord would give them the wisdom they need to make right decisions for the health, safety and welfare of people in every Nation.
Let us pray for those in the scientific and medical community, that they would be inspired by the
Lord to find a cure for this virus.
Let us pray for one another.
May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church and the Nations of the world
Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation
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