by Sister Ann Rehrauer
On this third Sunday of Easter, the message of Scriptures could not be clearer: Our God is rich in mercy, and Jesus Christ crucified and risen, is our Advocate with the Father.
The Gospel account describes one of the Risen Lord’s appearances to the disciples as he helped them understand the Scriptures: “... it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead ... that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Following his command, the early Church preached a Gospel of repentance and forgiveness through Jesus. Repentance includes both an admission of our need for forgiveness and a commitment to a conversion of life so that, as the apostle John says, we keep God’s commandments.
The Church has continued to preach this Gospel of mercy, even to our day through Pope Francis, and his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II.
In his second encyclical, Rich in Mercy, Saint John Paul II calls God’s mercy, "the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God" (Dives in Misericordia, 13).
Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “Mercy is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love.” Benedict ends by praying that all the Church says and does will manifest the mercy God feels for all of us.
Today, as we live the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection, we pray that we and our world, so broken and in such pain, might experience the mercy of God and live in a way that witnesses to this great gift.
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Dear Sr Ann, Thank you for the beautiful thoughts on God’s mercy. We would be lost without it. -- Irene Whatley
St. Anne's Episcopal Church, De Pere, holds a "Healing Mass" every Wednesday @ 9 a.m. I discovered this beautiful treasure just last year. I share with you a portion of the prayers I find so rich and meaningful:
"L: Restore to wholeness whatever is broken by human sin - in our lives, in our nation, and in our world.
R: HEAR US, O LORD OF LIFE.
L: You are the Lord who does wonders.
R: YOU HAVE DECLARED YOUR POWER AMONG THE PEOPLES.
L: With you, O Lord, is the well of life.
R: AND IN YOUR LIGHT, WE SEE LIGHT.
L: Hear us, O Lord of Life.
R: HEAL US, AND MAKE US WHOLE."
Before the anointing takes place, we all pray: "God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen." -- Linda
At a time when the world needs God’s mercy more than ever, your reflection on the Resurrection gives hope. Thank you! -- Michelle B