April 24, 2022
Today, in the Roman Latin Rite, is the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Today, in the Greek Catholic Orthodox Church, it is Easter. On Good Friday in Rome, Stations of the Cross were conducted at the Colosseum, the first time since the pandemic. The 13th Station, “Jesus dies on the Cross” caused some controversy. The cross was held by Irina, from Ukraine, and Albina, from Russia, two friends who work together at the Campus Bio-Medico Hospital in Rome. There was no meditation. They stood in silence together. The original text of the meditation for the 13th Station that they composed reflected on the horror of war without mentioning Ukraine by name.
“Death everywhere. Life that seems to lose its value. Everything changes in a few seconds. Our life, our days, the carefree winter snow, bringing the children to school, work, embraces, friendships…everything. Everything suddenly loses meaning and value. Where are you Lord? Where are you hiding? We want our life back as before. Why all of this? What wrong did we do? Why have you forsaken us? Why have you forsaken our peoples? Why do you break up our families like this? Why do we no longer have the desire to dream and to go on living? Why has my land become as dark as Golgotha? We have no tears left. Anger has given way to resignation. We know that you love us, Lord, but we don’t feel this love and it drives us to desperation. We wake up in the morning and feel happy for a few moments but then we suddenly think how difficult it will be to reconcile ourselves to all this. Lord, where are you? Speak to us amid the silence of death and division, and teach us to be the peacemakers, brothers, and sisters, and to rebuild what bombs tried to destroy.”
In the Gospel according to John, on the evening of that first day of the week, Sunday, the disciples are huddled together behind locked doors. They are traumatized by the crucifixion and death of Jesus and shamed by their own betrayal and abandonment of him. Jesus, the Risen one, comes and stands in their midst. He says, “Peace be with you.” He shows them his hands and side. This is no divine makeover. His wounds are visible on his glorified and spiritual body. No coverup. “Jesus is God with scars.” He does not express disappointment or reproach with his disciples but says a 2nd time “Peace be with you.” He breathes on them imparting the Holy Spirit and commissions them to forgive sins. It is an encounter with and revelation of Divine Mercy. Jesus is Divine Mercy.
Thomas misses out. As we often do. He is stuck in his own grief, shame, and fear. Thomas is unable to believe, to trust in and experience God’s mercy. A week later Jesus comes again, and Thomas is with them. Jesus shares God’s peace with the disciples and shows Thomas his wounds and bids him not to persist in unbelief but to believe. Thomas makes a simple and profound confession of faith for all of us, “My Lord and my God.”
Over two years ago we conducted a parish survey. It identified things to celebrate and opportunities for growth. One opportunity is assessing our parish response to issues of health, safety and security. Our Pastoral Council established a special committee to consider these concerns. The committee includes Allison Smerka (chair), Mark, Bergmann, Kim Driggs, Steven Flowers, Mike Geary, Frank Lewalski, Anthony Pivarunas, Mike Skrip, Chris Smerka and Homer Wilde. The committee is tasked with evaluating our readiness and clarifying, implementing, and communicating our plans with parishioners. Our attention is focused on health, safety, security, and the integrity/maintenance of our physical infrastructure. It was decided to have a yearly Safety Sunday to keep you informed of the progress of the committee and to raise awareness that health and safety are our common concerns. The committee has prepared a Safety Sunday handout. Committee members will be available in Selbert Hall after Mass to answer your questions and to elicit your cooperation.
3rd Sunday of Easter