I desire mercy, not sacrifice
Jesus’ disciples had locked themselves in a place for fear of the Jews. The Jews had put their Master to death, and it is quite possible that the Jews would do the same to them. However, the risen Christ appeared to the disciples who had deserted Him, and His first words to them were: “Peace be with you!”(John 20:19, 21) Jesus came to His disciples in order to dispel their fears and to bring peace to their troubled minds and hearts. Now, that was an act of mercy.
What is so special about today’s Gospel passage is that we see the effects of the love and mercy which Christ gives to His disciples: their sorrow and fear are turned into joy, their loss is turned into fulfillment, and their doubt is turned into faith. Jesus came into the world not for the righteous but for sinners; He said, “Those who are well do not need the physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Mt. 9:12-13).
There are two things that we can learn from this: first, Christ’s mercy is so great that He will never reject a repentant sinner, no matter what he had done in the past. Second, we are not only to receive the mercy of God, but to make use of it by being merciful to others as well.
How are we to practice mercy? The Church teaches us the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the prisoner, visit the sick, and bury the dead. In addition, there are also the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy: teach the ignorant, pray for the living and the dead, correct sinners, counsel those in doubt, and console those in sorrow. Other ways to practice mercy is by forgiving others for the wrongs which they have committed against us. We can also practice mercy by being patient with others, being less critical with others, and by not passing judgment on others. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us keep in mind the words that Jesus taught His disciples; He said: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)
The State of Georgia continues to be under a statewide shelter-in-place order. As a result, our church remains closed until further notice. As we take sensible measures to protect everyone from the spread of the coronavirus, be assured that our church community is here to help if you have material or spiritual needs. Private Masses will continue to be offered for your intentions. If you need to go to confession and for all other requests, please contact Fr. Bill.
Sunday Mass videos will continue to be uploaded to our church website and Facebook page. Please share with your friends. All are welcome to participate in spirit!
April 19, 2020 is Divine Mercy Sunday. On that day, a new Plenary Indulgence is granted:
Because of the pandemic, anyone who, with “the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible,” recites the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the intention “to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself,” can receive a plenary indulgence.
There are other ways to gain this special plenary indulgence, as well:
- The faithful suffering from coronavirus and subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes, with a spirit detached from any sin, can gain the plenary indulgence if they “unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.
- “Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”(John 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.”
- “This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.”