Dear people of God,
At the outset, I express my special thanks to Deacon Edward, Deb & Roman Kujak, Jim & Bernice Semling, Peter Schaffner, Steve Duellman, Janice Dworschak, Peggy Duellman & her girls, Bryce & Mary Lisowski, Max Bachhuber, Ellie Taverna, Mary Helmueller & John Helmueller, Mary Hildebrand and Scott Pronschinske who helped us to celebrate this Easter in a meaningful way in our three churches. I also appreciate all those who donated for purchasing of Easter flowers.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, In the Jubilee Year 2000, John Paul II established this new feast. He said that we receive the Easter Gift. It is the special gift of the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment that the Catholic Church offers in the form of a plenary indulgence today.
The word “Divine” means “given by God” or “like God”. The word “Mercy” means “the refraining from harming or punishing offenders”. So simply put, Divine Mercy is “God refraining from harming or punishing offenders”. The feast of Divine Mercy, according to the diary of St. Faustina , receives from Jesus the biggest promises of grace related to the Devotion of Divine Mercy, in particular that a person who goes to confession and receives holy communion on that day, shall obtain the total forgiveness of all sins.
This is an annual feast to get perfectly right with God. The Sacrament of Eucharist and Confession comprise the Fount of Divine Mercy. The two sacraments needed to receive the total forgiveness of sins. Recall what Jesus said to His Apostles in the Gospel today: “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”. This happened on the very night of the Resurrection when the Apostles were hiding from fear of the Jews.
The Catholic Church teaches that the Blood and Water that gushed out from Jesus on the Cross are the Sacraments of the Church. Jesus said that the Water is what makes souls righteous and the Blood is the life of souls. So, we can see that the Water washes away our sins, just like in Baptism or Confession and that the Blood gives us life, just like in Holy Communion.
He is asking us not to be afraid to approach Him and to ask Him for His mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. He is calling us to wash away our sins and to receive Holy Communion without stain of sin, because He wants to give us the absolute greatest gift possible today. For Holy Communion to be miraculous, we have to be completely clean from any sin or desire to sin. Don’t ever be afraid to approach Jesus, waiting for you in the Confessional. Jesus told Saint Faustina that every time we approach the Confessional, that He Himself is waiting there for us. That He is only hidden by the priest and that the priest is, for Him, only a screen.
The Catholic Church allows about 20 days for Confession, before or after Divine Mercy Sunday, to gain the special plenary indulgence that is being offered today. If you think that you are in the state of serious or mortal sin, the Church teaches that you must go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion. If you have gone to Confession but have fallen back into venial sin, you should make a perfect Act of Contrition before receiving Holy Communion.
Have a happy and Blessed Sunday!
Yours in Risen Christ,