Divine Mercy

In today’s First Reading in Acts, it is noted that following Jesus’ resurrection, the Church was one. This was what God had always intended. One heart, one mind, one body, one soul.

The common theme reflected in Psalm 118 is  “His mercy endures forever.” God’s love is everlasting. In the Divine Mercy Chaplet we pray, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world”.

Jesus came for sinners. To have compassion on us and forgive us. To save souls. Our strength and our courage is the LORD, our Savior! Give thanks!

May the Holy Spirit fill each of us with the joy of the Easter message.

Let us live boldly, as the Apostles did following Christ’s resurrection, recognizing that we are indeed saved.

Let us be steadfast to the Lord, keeping his Commandments through the trials and tribulations we face.

Let us be in peace with one another, just as Jesus reconciled with us, appearing to the Apostles, “Peace be with you.”

Let us pray that our love increases for Christ as well as each other every day. 

As reflected through the message of the Divine Mercy, Jesus, I trust in You.

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Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

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The Eighth Day?

Alleluia! It’s still Easter!

Every year, I marvel at the reality that we prepare for Easter with 40 days of penitence, and then celebrate the magnificence of Christ’s Resurrection for 50 days! And every day of the Octave of Easter (from Easter through Divine Mercy Sunday) is like Easter Sunday, liturgically speaking. It is one long day of rejoicing, encompassing the “first day of the week” (the day of Christ’s resurrection from the dead) and the “eighth day” of the week (the following Sunday). This “eighth day” after the Sabbath is the new “first day”, the symbol of the new creation the Resurrection has set in motion.

The eighth day as a day signaling sanctity and freedom can be seen repeatedly in the Old Testament, particularly the Book of Leviticus. On this day, children were circumcised, becoming purified and receiving the seal of the covenant (Lev 12:2-3). Even animals were ceremonially unclean before their eighth day, and could not be sacrificed before then (Lev 22:27)!  All people who were unclean for any reason remained so until the eighth day, when they were accounted clean (Lev 14:8-10; 15:13-14). Even the vessels for ministry and the priests went through seven days of purification, and were “clean” on the eighth day.

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus rose on “the first day of the week,” which is the same as the “eighth day.” The Jewish people hold Saturday, the seventh day, as a day of rest and worship, as God rested on the seventh day of creation. But Christians acknowledge that Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary fulfilled every Levitical oblation and sacrifice, and the resurrection on the “eighth day” points to the NEW creation and the final fulfillment of all creation.  In the early Church, the baptismal font was often octagonal, to symbolize the truth that it is through this font that the baptized become a new creation in Christ!

Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday, when we see Jesus putting Thomas’ doubts to rest on the eighth day by revealing his glorious wounds, through which he poured out mercy on the world. It is through these wounds that Jesus gave us the incredible gift of forgiveness and proved that Love overcomes every sin and shortcoming. On this “eighth day” of Easter, we glimpse the whole point of creation and hear anew the call to fulfillment of all creation: the final victory over every uncleanness and sinfulness, and our final, glorious rest at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, celebrating the definitive conquering of death on the mystical eighth day of creation in eternity.

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.

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Leave Your Boats Behind

He is risen! Alleluia! The most life-changing thing has happened in the lives of our dear apostles and where do we find them today? Fishing. Unsuccessfully at that. 

Skipping down to the end of the Gospel reading, John reveals that this encounter with Jesus was the third time since the Resurrection. Twice before this day, Peter and the others had seen and spoken with the risen Lord. And still, by their actions, we see their doubt, their unbelief. 

When we want to feel comfortable, when we are unsure of change, what is the human response? We find something familiar, a past habit or location, something we are sure of. For Peter and the other apostles with him, that place of familiarity is in a boat on the sea. John is showing us that they are returning to their old way, their previous habits and professions which had sustained them before following Jesus. But look, where they were previously proficient, they find themselves lacking. They caught no fish! 

Something has changed, they are fundamentally different men. It’s not that they have forgotten how to fish or read the waves and winds. John is exploring how deeply encounters with Jesus change who we are. Peter can no longer provide for himself. He and the others can’t “go it alone” as so often we try to do even today. Only when Jesus reveals Himself and provides a way forward do they make their catch. And of course, in God’s goodness and generosity, it is a catch more sizable than they could have ever achieved.  

Today we find ourselves at the start of the Easter Season and in the middle of the Octave of Easter (the initial 8 days after Easter Sunday). The newness of the Resurrection is still tingling in our consciousness and daily life – or is it? Have we already become like Peter and the others, unsure, perhaps unbelieving, and looking for our old comforts and habits to shield us from the radicalness of God’s saving work? Have we found ourselves drawn back into our comfortable boats, trying to reconstruct a known life from before?

In his reflection on this passage a few years ago, Pope Francis said: “Let us all remember this well: The Gospel of Jesus cannot be proclaimed without the concrete witness of life. Whoever hears and sees us must be able to read in our actions what he hears on our lips, and give glory to God.” Take some time today to consider how the reality of the Resurrection is shaping you into a disciple of the Lord. How are you different this Easter season? How have you grown? Can you, like Peter, jump out of your boat and go to the side of Jesus with enthusiasm and joy?

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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You are Witnesses

I was talking with someone the other day, laughing about how often Jesus says, “Peace be with you,” and, “Do not be afraid,” in the Gospels because it’s not just his way of greeting people, it’s that Jesus would do crazy things (like randomly appear) and frighten people! 

Then, in today’s Gospel, we are reminded just how human the disciples were. We might read over the gospels and think, “Yup, Jesus turned water into wine. Yup, walking on water, he does that,” but we fail to truly consider how utterly amazing and confusing it would have been to witness all of these miracles. If we saw anyone do these kinds of things today, we would totally lose our minds, record it on our phones, share it with everyone we know, etc. Why do we expect anything less human from the first Christians?

So I LOVE today’s Gospel because it literally says that they, “thought they were seeing a ghost,” because I would have acted the same way (Luke 24:37). Just imagine for a moment that you’re telling your best friends about walking with Jesus, then recognizing him while breaking bread and then he just SHOWS UP. “Peace be with you. It’s just me, Jesus… Alive.” No big deal, right? Jesus told them he would be back, right? 

And yet they were still surprised!

They were still shocked and terrified. 

Still, they had the faith and strength to witness not just one miracle and run away, but to become witnesses of Jesus, the radical love he showed even the least of strangers, and to share everything they had learned with the world. They were so on fire with the Spirit, from seeing all this crazy stuff happen through Jesus, that they felt they HAD to share it with others. 

So today, as we continue through the Easter season, I ask if you have been a witness to the miracles that have happened in your life? Now that Jesus reminds you not to be afraid, are you sharing his love and miracles?

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.

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What Calvary are you walking away from?

Emmaus. One of the Easter stories of the risen Jesus appearing to his beloved followers. It has the fresh breeze of a spring morning: “that very day, the first day of the week.” The day of resurrection.

Somehow, however, for these two disciples at least, their gaze was not on the risen, the new, the astounding glory of what “some women from our group” proclaimed to them. The women “were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back with a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.”

However, their minds were filled with other voices. Not the voices of angels, but the voices of people. The voices of people arguing about the meaning of the things that had taken place in Jerusalem that week concerning Jesus that Nazarene. The voices of people speaking to dominate a conversation, voices of power, of fear, of skepticism.

In these two disciples at least, their memories were trying to figure out what had happened to this leader whom they had followed in earlier days of so much promise and hope.

Their gaze was now filled with nothingness and confusion. Their eyes “downcast.” They were “prevented from recognizing” the Lord.

So what Calvary are you walking away from? What disillusioned hope for yourself or others or the world is the subject of conversation with others and inner frustration? What stories are you telling and retelling and rehearsing yet again? Over what situation in your life is your gaze “downcast”? What can you never forgive for entering into your life?

Jesus wants to take you where you cannot bring yourself on your own terms.

Jesus wants to free you from those conversations that trap you in complaint and criticism and certainty.

Jesus is dying to be your conversation partner.

Jesus wants to set your inner being on fire, that you may run with joy to tell others that you too have seen the Lord. Yes. You. Today. Now.

Jesus wants to share with you his secret. He wants to flood your consciousness with his Father. His Father’s presence. His love. His providence. His power. His overwhelming closeness that encompasses us in every detail of our life. At any moment in Jesus life, he was conscious of his Father’s desires for him and his will for his life.

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus told these two apostles that there was a plan. Beginning from Moses and all the prophets he opened their eyes to how they all referred to him. It was a plan of love for them. He revealed to them a plan that Jesus carried out with immense trust in his Father, ultimately breathing forth his spirit into his Father’s hands. 

There are many things about which we disagree these days. We see unthinking online mobs attack people, reducing a human being down to one idea they have had, one deed they have done (or neglected), one word they have said. We may have joined in, taking sides as we listen to the news, or in conversations with colleagues and friends. Prizing being right, being first, being on the right team. In the end, it’s only what we’ve figured out on our own terms, through our own interpretation of events.

Jesus is showing us today that we need to walk with him in order to understand his interpretation of events. To see how this one detail of human history fits into the whole. To reverence how all of human history is part of God’s salvation history that is unfolding and can never be stopped.

This Easter week, Jesus shows us the real words of power, the deeds of authentic greatness, the meaning that gives true value to life. Only if we live as a child of the  Father will we know the fullness of what is true, what is good, what is life.

Walk away from your Calvary’s if you must, but walk away with Jesus at your side. Listen to him along the way, and meet him in the “breaking of the bread.”

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Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: www.touchingthesunrise.com Public Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/srkathrynhermes/ For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community: https://www.patreon.com/srkathryn.

Feature Image Credit: Wikimedia: Fritz von Uhde – Der Gang nach Emmaus (1891)

Baptisms Galore

I am writing this reflection on Holy Saturday, in the midst of Holy Week. What is supposed to be one of the holiest weeks of the year becomes the busiest for anyone working for the Church. In my role I have many sacraments coming up, including Confirmation and First Communion. We of course, have all the Holy Week Liturgies as well as extra times of prayer and confession. It’s a busy time, which is good because a busy church is a living church, but that doesn’t make the stacks of paperwork any easier.

This is why I love the First Reading for today. Let’s look at just the last line which says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.” I love how that is just casually mentioned as if it was normal to baptize that many people. Think about that logistically. The priest must have been out there for hours just baptizing one after the other. But what do I like most about it? No paperwork. Haha. But really what is the most beautiful thing about it? That it is the preaching of the simple Gospel and it was so profound that three thousand people decided to enter The Church.

Now I don’t know about you, but our Easter Vigil at my parish has never had this many people lining up. Then I get to thinking what is the difference between now and then? Why don’t we have such large numbers of people asking to be made children of God? I think there are many reasons one can think of. The process is longer, the world is more secular, there aren’t enough priests, people aren’t catechized. You could find many different reasons, but I think number one is that we have stopped believing in the power of the resurrection.

Here we are in the midst of the Easter season and I think that is the question I will ponder for the next few weeks. Do I believe in the power of the resurrection? Do I believe that if God wants it, then three thousand will line up at our doors? Do I believe that the same Holy Spirit that made those conversions happen is still active today? Or do I think that somehow God only had so much power in the tank and it has been running on fumes?

Now I hope anyone reading this believes God does have the power, but then the next question is, do we let that power work in our lives? Sometimes it can be scary to let God have full control and give in completely to the power of the Holy Spirit. It can be unexpected, new, foreign, or just uncomfortable. But what would happen if all of us submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit just like they did in this First Reading? What would the Church look like? That’s a question I ask daily. How can I submit even more to the Holy Spirit and God working in my life. What is he asking me to do? Where is he asking me to go? From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at tommy@rodzinkaministry.com or check out his website at rodzinkaministry.com.

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Let us be Glad and Rejoice

Rejoice! It is Monday in the octave of Easter.

The Gospel today begins with the Marys quickly leaving the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed. Then behold; they meet Jesus on their way and He greeted them. Wow. What a surprise! Imagine the excitement and joy that filled them at meeting the Master. I break out smiling picturing this scene in my mind while my heart fills with overwhelming love.

Each of the days during the octave continue the celebration of Easter. The following prayer written by St. Francis of Assisi helps me to keep the joy and wonder of the season alive in my heart. May the phrases resonate with yours as well.

Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty,

Who is and Who was and Who is to come.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

O Lord our God, You are worthy to receive

praise and glory and honor and blessing.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

The Lamb Who was slain is worthy to receive

power and divinity, and wisdom and strength,

and honor and glory and blessing.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

Let us bless the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord:

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

Sing praise to our God, all you His servants

and you who fear God, the small and the great.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

Let the heavens and the earth praise Him Who is glorious.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

Every creature that is in heaven and on earth and under the earth

and in the sea and those which are in it.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

All-powerful, most holy, most high, and supreme God:

all good, supreme good, totally good,

You Who are alone are good;

may we give You all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor:

all blessing, and all good.

So be it!

So be it!


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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

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The Joy of the Resurrection

“He saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

Happy Easter! What a joy it is to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.  Although we can never fully comprehend what this means, as Christians, we know that through His pain and suffering even unto death, Jesus gave His life away to conquer death and unlock Heaven for each of us. I can still recall my four-year-old relating something she learned from her preschool teachers who are religious sisters.  Pointing to the crucifix at church, she said, “that is the key that opens the doors to Heaven.” May we come to accept Jesus into our lives and allow Him to unlock our hearts and free us from the bondage of this world.

Easter is a day of rejoicing; this is a day of hope. No matter what trials and tribulations you suffer, allow the joy of Easter to penetrate your heart. Please spend some time reflecting and pondering on what it means for us to experience freedom through Christ. He is our Redeemer, and Jesus desires a personal relationship with us.  Our Holy Days often become “Holidays” where we get lost in the party preparation, small details, and traditions that we can easily forget the real meaning. Easter celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the gift of new life offered to each of us through Jesus’ death on a cross. 

 As Peter ran to the tomb and discovered that Jesus had risen from the dead, we are invited to celebrate, participate and receive the joy of living in union with Christ on this beautiful day. 

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Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of www.inspirethefaith.com and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network www.WelcomeHisHeart.com. She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic Mom.com.

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