One of the great fruits of the pontificate of my favorite pope Saint John Paul II was when he promulgated the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000. Divine Mercy Sunday is the devotion that was fostered by St. Faustina Kowalska. She died in 1938 in Krakow Poland, just approximately one year before World War II. Just a few decades later, Archbishop Karol Wojtyla was the one opened the cause for canonization for St. Faustina. Providentially, St. John Paul II canonized her in 2000.
It is amazing of how similar and different these two saints were and how they both served the Church with great love. St. Faustina was part of a family of ten that lived in poverty. She had a very simple education. She died at the young age of 33. While John Paul II was very charismatic and lived a long life in which he received an extensive formal education of the highest merit. Yet they were both natural born citizens of the same country of Poland which was afflicted with great persecution. In her last years, St. Faustina was very ill. John Paul II suffered throughout his life especially emotionally as a young man and physically in his middle age till the end of his life.
In his Divine Mercy Sunday sermon, Pope John Paul II preached:
Jesus said to Sr. Faustina one day: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy” (Diary, p. 132). Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.
Both of these saints served Christ with great fervor. Faustina did it in her capacity as a nun. John Paull II did in his capacity as a priest, bishop, and pope. What about us? How can we serve Jesus even more during this season of Easter? How we can foster the Mercy of God upon others?
This parish is blest to have so many people who are willing to help. On Easter Sunday, you may have taken one of the thousands of holy water bottles. A generous parishioner purchased those bottles and labeled them. This parishioner is a hidden witness but not hidden from God.
There is layperson who I know who offers so much of his time in helping the Carmelite Nuns of Brookyln. There are dozens of parishioners who are involved with Vincent De Paul, Catholic Daughters of America and the Knights of Columbus. Ultimately, all our efforts are to lead souls to encounter Jesus and helped them get closer to Heaven.
As you may noticed, I often emphasize three important aspects of Christian Life; spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, going to confession, and Marian devotion. There is a wonderful soul that I know who says to me often in his limited capacity: “all I can do now is pray.” How fortunate he is because prayer is the most important apostolate of the Church.
During these weeks of Easter we hear the readings from the Acts of the Apostles that show the early work of the Church which is not so different from the work of the Church today. Let us remember to Live in Christ is to serve. As the Church teaches us, ‘To reign is to serve.’ As the Lord tell us: If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him (John 12:26).
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Yildirmaz