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Divine Mercy Sunday 2009

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Fr.Paul Weinberger

Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Divine Mercy Sunday 2009 Reply with quote

Divine Mercy Sunday 2009

Homily by: Fr. Paul Weinberger
St. William the Confessor Parish
Greenville, Texas.
April 19, 2009

Thomas answered and said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Many of you have been watching the series produced by EWTN on Exodus featuring Professor Tim Gray, who holds a PHD in biblical studies from the Catholic University of America. He has taught at Christendom College and now teaches at the seminary in Denver. His toughest audience is listed early in his book. All that knowledge and then something happens at home. He says,

The stark contrast between the saints who heard God speak, and us, who often hear only our rosaries clacking against the pew. This was brought home to me in a rather surprising way one night when I was tucking my son, Joseph, into bed.

I am quoting from his book, “Praying Scripture for a Change”, by Dr. Tim Gray. So, he is tucking his son into bed here.

After bedtime prayers Joseph burst into tears crying, “God doesn’t talk to me!” A spiritual crisis at the age of four! Joseph was upset because God didn’t talk to him the way He talked to Jonah or St. Francis, no visions, no voices. Joseph thought something was wrong with him.

So, here the scripture scholar is a dad and he has to explain this to his children. Without the bells and whistles of Jonah and St. Francis we know that God hears our prayers.

Prayer needs to be considered like a set of stairs going from the first floor to the second floor. There is the highest form of prayer and then there are the lower forms of prayer, but I am going to concentrate on the highest form of prayer because many people have no idea why they do the things they do. I will give you an example.

An unmarried woman, forty-seven, and rather plain or un descript by her own identification, recently won a contest in England, which is something along the lines of American Idle. I don’t watch American Idle so I couldn’t tell you about British Idle or whatever they call it. Maybe it is Billy Idle, I don’t know. [Laughter] Anyway, she won the British version of that and she is going on to the big contest or whatever it is. There are lower levels and then they have the big playoff. She is a Catholic and an organist at her parish, as well as faithful. She said that she goes to Mass every Sunday.

She got up to sing during this contest and people were just looking at her and laughing at her, which shows you, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. When she opened her mouth to sing something beautiful came out. As I am reading this story I kind of know or am guessing what is down the road. Parents can guess and usually guess correctly because they are parents and have been around the block more than once. I have heard confessions almost twenty years now and have been going to confession now forever myself, so I can pretty much guess.

Anyway, I am reading this story and sure enough the last shoe drops. Something she has never done before, she missed Mass in order to go and sing for the world. Now, words are important; she didn’t miss Mass…oh, there it goes. She SKIPPED Mass.

Well Father, I think in this case…

In this case what? I received my First Communion when I was in second grade so I am guessing I was seven years old. For 43 years almost now I have been going to Mass every Sunday since the second grade and I haven’t missed a Sunday. Whenever my friends would promote something that would take place on Sunday, they would very often advise me to skip Mass, and .I would tell them that I could do more than one thing on Sunday. That is what happened. In the balance we are all faced with this decision. Which has more gravity; which one is more important and profound? I found that I could actually do more than one thing on Sunday, but if I had to choose between Mass and being with my friends at the lake…. lets see…that was easy! Going to some event or going to Mass…hum, I get the same answer. I am still waiting for someone to tell me what I can find that is going to be more beneficial to me personally and to the world universally than the perfect Sacrifice of Christ, the perfect prayer of Christ, which is the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, offered on the day He rose from the dead. In this Gospel it says,

On the evening of that first day of the week when the doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and He said to them, “Peace be with you.”

I guarantee you that every Sunday since the Resurrection that Jesus has done that. Sunday is special because it is the day of the Resurrection; that is the day He chose to rise from the dead. If you remember the movie from the early 80s, and I checked…there are actually people who are still alive who were alive in the early 80s, there was a movie I will recommend to you; it is about a man, a protestant Christian and very devoted to Christ, who would never work on a Sunday. He got into the Olympics and he was a runner, who made his way all the way up to the finals and he was going to run for the gold medal. It was going to be that he had to run on Sunday for the gold medal and he chose not to run on Sunday.

What a sap! You mean he chose Jesus over a gold medal?

I remember how young Mark Spitz was in the 70s. Have you seen a picture of him lately? {Laughter}

”I want these gold medals”

Right? Jesus is ever fresh and I guarantee you that the greatest prayer that you and I can offer to God every eight days is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the perfect prayer of Christ, offered on the day He rose from the dead and nothing else comes near. Even if you were able to say a million perfect Rosaries and put it in the balance and weigh it up, it is not even close. Is the Rosary a beautiful prayer after the Mass? Of course it is!

Perhaps often in the past you have been negligent in going to Mass on Sunday. If you miss Mass because you are sick you haven’t skipped Mass. You should not be at Mass if you are ill, or if your car breaks down it is not something that you intended. If there is bad weather like a tornado that is in the area and you are going to come to Mass then you are going to come to an empty Church. I am not going to be offering Mass, but I will be praying. I won’t offer Mass and the Church blow apart, right? No, if there is bad weather you stay at home. You are not skipping Mass you are missing Mass. God is in charge of the weather, or climate change, or whatever we are calling it this week.

The Lord gives us this Mass because He knows that we need the strength that comes from this perfect prayer. Now, I can take all of the petitions I have for myself or my family and parish, state and country as well as the world and I can combine those and present them to Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and then Christ presents His perfect prayer to His Father. That means that I have an advocate, who presents all of my petitions to God the Father and God the Father will not say no to His Son, Jesus Christ. But, I can say no; I can say no to going to Mass on Sunday because something better has come up, although I have never heard what was better. If you know what is better, you tell me; I am all ears. The perfect prayer of Jesus Christ is the greatest prayer that we can offer while still on earth.

Today is the Feast of Divine Mercy and on this day, four years ago Pope Benedict was chosen as pope, April 19th. That year Pope John Paul II died on the vigil of Divine Mercy, and he is the pope who instituted this day as Divine Mercy Sunday. I know what you are thinking.

There is enough Divine Mercy in this world isn’t there? We don’t need more do we?

Evidentially we don’t read the same newspaper or frequent the same websites. The world is in desperate need of Divine Mercy. This is a prayer that is so often never learned. I have seen charts where they have a Rosary and they say to pray this prayer on this bead or this prayer on that bead, or they use numbers. If you can read that and do it that way, fine. This is just a prayer in descending order, so you can just start here. If you don’t have a Rosary but can count to ten then you can pray this prayer.
There it is, all laid out for you.

I want to focus on these two central prayers, the one that introduces the other prayer and the prayer that is repeated ten times. The introductory prayer is

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.

That packs a lot into it. The next prayer is repeated ten times.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Lets focus on that first one. After receiving Holy Communion today or any day and you go back to your bench…many people suffer from not knowing what to say. Many times a husband will lean over and ask his wife where they are going to eat after Mass or some other question. This is not an appropriate time for anything mundane. After worthily receiving Holy Communion, Jesus, Who is in that tabernacle has just arrived into my body, which is now, for about 15 minutes, a Tabernacle of the Lord. Jesus is in my body the same way He is in that tabernacle. It sounds too good to be true but it is true and if it isn’t then I have just thrown away 20 years of my life and if you count the 7 years of seminary, then I have thrown away 27 years of my life. No, it is true and it demands of us a response. God has just spoken to us by entering my heart and my soul and it demands a response on my part. Instead of fumbling around you can use this prayer,

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.

Why? Because in Holy Communion I have just received Jesus, the Risen Christ, just like we heard in this Gospel. We have received His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

It helps us to focus in ways that we cannot focus during the week; it helps us to really understand who has become a Divine Visitor to our souls and in our hearts. This is something that is worth shoving everything aside for or off the cliff, just to emphasize this one thing…I have not found anything that even compares or comes close to this.

Getting back to Dr. Gray talking to his son, Joseph, will eventually get around to this most perfect of prayers. There is no prayer that surpasses this prayer, the perfect prayer of Jesus Christ, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered on the day of His Resurrection.

Remember that God wanted to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to worship Him for three days in the desert but Pharaoh would not allow it. He said “no” and that they needed to get back to work. Plagues came upon Egypt. Do you remember the day of the week when the plagues arrived upon the Egyptians? Dr. Gray points out in the study on Exodus that it was on the Sabbath, on the Lord’s Day.

”Ok Egyptians, you won’t let them worship ME? Here is a plague

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and the tenth was the worst. The first-born male of every Egyptian family and every animal as well, died. The Israelites were spared. This is the Passover that we celebrate with Easter. Christ has chosen Sunday but there are people who will tell you that you’ve got it wrong because the Sabbath is Saturday. Jesus chose Sunday and is recreating the human family and so He chose the next day, the 8th day to do it. If you or someone else has a problem with that, take it up with Jesus. It is to remember this even when Jesus appeared to His friends in the upper room on Easter Sunday evening.

Just a couple of things about the Divine Mercy prayer while we are at Mass. Consider today’s Gospel. Toward the end of the Gospel you see where St. Thomas has doubted. Do you notice that Thomas doubts St. Peter and all the Apostles? By doing so he is doubting the Church and that happens all the time today.

”Yea, I know Pope Benedict is smart but…”

Sorry Thomas, you are wrong! Thomas hears the good news. The Gospel says,

So the other Disciple said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord”

But Thomas didn’t believe it unless he could probe the nail marks and put his hand in Jesus’ side. In the picture on the cover of the bulletin, that is exactly what Jesus is doing for our benefit. When Thomas traces the nail marks in the hands of Jesus with his hand, Jesus directs his hand into the side wound, the hole made by the soldier’s lance, which pierced the Sacred Heart. What does Thomas say in response?

My Lord and My God!

There is a tradition in the Church that at the Consecration of the bread, when Jesus changes the unleavened bread into His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity and the Sacred Host is raised or elevated, you hear the bells ring and Jesus has just appeared into our midst the same way He did in this Gospel we say, “My Lord and MY God.” We should say something and “My Lord and My God” is the traditional response. This can be said again and again but not aloud because there are others around us. We should say it silently because God can hear us.

When the words are prayed over the wine in the chalice, the same words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, the wine becomes the Precious Blood of Christ, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, the chalice is elevated for our adoration and we need to say something. It demands a response and the traditional response is, “My Jesus, have mercy!” Both prayers of the Divine Mercy would be appropriate at both elevations as well.

The Divine Mercy is the kind of prayer that, if you haven’t taken it up, you should take it up. It take, for men, about 7 minutes. This is something that you can pray at home or in the car on the way to Mass. Many people fight on their way to Mass. That was our tradition on the way to Church. My brother always started the fight. Yea right! No, you can start the Divine Mercy Chaplet and then have conversation and then pray it again. What is there, a law against it? This is a beautiful prayer and every time we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet it is getting us ready for the most perfect prayer, which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offered on the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

Thomas answered and said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
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