Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the Second Sunday of Easter, or since a few years ago, we also celebrate the greatness of our Lord’s merciful heart and love for us, in the Feast of the Divine Mercy. We celebrate today not just the joy of Easter and the resurrection of Christ, but the very love and mercy that God had shown us in giving us Jesus to be our Saviour and redeem us from certain death because of sin.

Today we have to reflect on this great mercy God had shown us through Jesus. Without this mercy, mankind would still dwell in darkness of this world and engulfed in sin, and therefore, condemned to damnation with Satan and his fellow fallen angels in the eternal torture of hell, bereft of God’s love and mercy in its entirety, where there is no longer any hope for us.

Instead, God who loves us resolved to let Himself be humiliated, scourged, tortured and mocked for our sake. He let Himself to be wounded and punished with the entirety of the weight of our sins, no matter how heavy they are. For our sins are the wounds that He bear, and His cross is our rebelliousness that He bore for our sake, that we may not suffer the consequences of our sins.

Today we celebrate the rising of two great and yet humble men to the Altar, that is our beloved Popes, the Successors of St. Peter, Blesseds Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. The now Saints Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II were great workers of love and mercy, proclaiming to the world the virtues of the Most Divine Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope St. John XXIII was the great proponent and champion of peace, seeking peace in a world beset by conflicts and hatred between one another, building bridges of dialogue and reconciliation where there were anger, hatred and violence. This is one of the great aspect and essence of mercy, showing to the world that we mankind should shun evil and hatred, as well as violence and dispute, in favour of love, forgiveness, cooperation and genuine mercy.

Divine Mercy of our Lord was truly at work, when Pope St. John XXIII carried out his mission as the Successor of St. Peter as the head of the Universal Church. Even in his life prior to his election as Pope, Pope St. John XXIII had been the embodiment of our Lord’s Divine Mercy, by acting in accordance to the Lord’s love, reaching out in particular to those who are bereft and longing for the Lord’s beautiful mercy.

Pope St. John XXIII as Angelo Roncalli prior to his election as Pope was sent as the diplomat of the Holy See, representing the Pope and the Church in various countries where strife was rampant, and divisions were evident among the faithful people of God, as the Apostolic Delegate to Bulgaria, he helped to bridge the differences between the faithful belonging to the Church and our separated brethren of the Constantinopolitan communion or the Eastern Orthodox. He helped foster a good relationship among the faithful and did not fear to help out a fellow brethren in need.

In essence, therefore, he had exercised the merciful aspect of the Lord who is the Divine Mercy. Pope St. John XXIII has also emulated the same example of Christ’s mercy by helping the Jews who were hunted down by the NAZIs to be exterminated by working hard to arrange their escape when he was the Apostolic Delegate to Turkey, and when a trainload of Jewish exiles attempted to escape death through Turkey.

There were much mercy in this new saint’s actions, and that is why he is today elevated to the glory of the Altar and officially recognised by the Church as a saint worthy of heavenly glory and honour. The other saint elevated today, Pope St. John Paul II whom many if us dearly and fondly remembered as the Pope of our time, also was a great man of mercy and love.

Pope St. John Paul II and his predecessors worked on the vision of a religious sister, who is known now as St. Faustina Kowalska on the Lord as the Divine Mercy. The Lord appeared to St. Faustina Kowalska asking for mankind to repent and change their sinful ways, and cling to His most merciful heart, which became the origin for the devotion towards the Divine Mercy of God, and the origin for today’s celebration on the Feast of the Divine Mercy, which falls on the second Sunday of Easter.

Pope St. John Paul II himself, as many of us know, is a man of great mercy, whose works of love and perseverance for the sake of the faithful is well known throughout the world. When he met an assassination attempt in 1981, on the day of the Feast of our Lady of Fatima, he forgave his to-be-assassin, and visited him in the prison, reconciling himself with the assassin in love.

This is one of the many examples of his acts of mercy, which is firmly founded on the foundations of faith, and his perseverance in fighting for the rights of the faithful against the Communist regime in Poland, his country, was truly remarkable. He did not fight the violence of the atheistic government with violence of his own, even when the people were on his side. He fought for the people with prayers and activism, promoting and championing for the faith through real action firmly grounded on the Christian faith.

Pope St. John Paul II was also well known for his championing of the Universal Call to Holiness, in which the faithful and people of God are encouraged to be models of the faith and walk in a life of holiness, which he helped encourage by the elevation of many holy men and women whose lives had been exemplary to be the role model for the faithful, that is for all of us to follow. These are the examples of the manifestation of the Lord’s love and mercy which came true in the lives of these holy men and women, including that of Popes St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II themselves.

In celebrating the elevation of these two great and yet humble Popes to the holy sainthood, we celebrate together with the entire Church for the propagation of the Lord’s Divine Mercy and love to all the peoples of all the nations, that from today on, through the examples in the lives of these two new saints and countless other holy men and women of God, we may learn of the Lord’s Divine Mercy and understand this great act of mercy.

God did not want us to suffer for the consequences of our sins, which entered our hearts and bodies and minds ever since Adam and Eve our first ancestors disobeyed the Lord and His will. That is why He sent us the greatest gift and help that He can provide us, in Jesus His Son, who suffered in our place, bearing our sins and all their burdens on His shoulders to the cross, where He laid down His own life for us, and by rising from the dead, He gave new hope of a new life to all of us who believe and who are ready to cast away our old lives of sin.

Yet we also have to remember at all times that God hates sin, in all its forms, no matter whether it is a small or a large sin. A sin is still a sin, and it separates us from being able to be perfectly reunited with the Lord who loves us. Sin is the barrier that prevents mankind from being free from the bonds and chains of death, and therefore, it is imperative for us to take the initiative to get rid of our sinfulness.

And the Lord who is also the Divine Mercy as He had revealed to St. Faustina Kowalska, has offered much mercy and opportunity for all of us to repent and turn again towards Him from our past sinful lives. It does not mean that God hates sin then we who have sinned will be condemned to perdition and death. It does not mean that we will be cast into hell immediately for our sins. Mankind are often very aware of their sins, but the danger of this is that because of this awareness, mankind became fearful of God and were afraid to seek God’s forgiveness and therefore fall deeper into sin.

We must not have this mentality or attitude towards God, because we know that the Lord is rich in mercy and slow to anger. Yes, just as much as He is wrathful and hateful against sins that we commit. What matters is for us to open our hearts to Him and allow His mercy to work wonders in us, and allowing His mercy to pierce to the greatest depths of our hearts that He may dwell in us and work His forgiveness in us.

Remember what Pope St. John Paul II had said to us? That we must not be afraid and open the doors wide to the Lord? And yes, therefore, we have to heed the words of this wise saint, and open wide the doors of our hearts to the forgiveness and mercy of God. Do not be afraid indeed, or else God’s mercy and forgiveness will not work its wonders on us, and we will remain in sin.

The problem with many of us and therefore mankind in general is that, not only that we fear the Lord and His wrath, but we also have great pride in us that we do not want to seek the Lord for forgiveness because of our ego. We keep our ego and heads held high, but for what? In the end, keeping our ego and pride will cost us dearly and we may be thrown into hell to suffer for eternity just because we refuse to lower ourselves before the mercy of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we rejoice with the entire Universal Church for the elevation of the two new saints from among our Popes, let us follow their examples and heed their words, that we show mercy in our own actions and open our hearts to the Lord, that His mercy and love may be poured into us, and make us all truly worthy and holy children of His, showing the examples of mercy in all our words, actions and deeds.

O, Pope St. John XXIII, pray and intercede for us that we may be agents of peace in this world, to show love and mercy of God to all through our actions, that may all hatred and violence cease, and that men will be brought closer to God, just as you had once worked hard for the sake of peace and equality for all mankind before God.

O, Pope St. John Paul II, pray and intercede for us that we may have our hearts opened for the Lord to enter, that we will not shut tight our doors before the Lord who knocks daily at them. Pray for us that we will not be afraid to open ourselves for others and show love and mercy in all of our actions, that we will be witnesses of the Lord’s most Divine Mercy.

May the Lord show His infinite mercy to us on this day, that we who have sinned before Him may turn our back against our past and sinful lives, that we may take concrete and real steps towards full reconciliation with our God. O, most Divine Mercy and loving Jesus, forgive us sinners and bring us closer to Your most loving heart. Amen.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 19-31

On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews. But Jesus came, and stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” Then He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.

Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” After saying this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in His hands the print of the nails, and put my fingers in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into My side. Do not be an unbeliever! Believe!”

Thomas then said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see Me, do you not? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of His disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Believe, and you will have life through His Name!

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Peter 1 : 3-9

Let us praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His great mercy. In raising Jesus Christ from the dead He has given us new life and a living hope. The inheritance that does not corrupt nor goes bad nor passes away was reserved to you in heavens, since God’s power shall keep you faithful until salvation is revealed in the last days.

There is cause for joy, then, even though you may, for a time, have to suffer many trials. Thus will your faith be tested, like gold in a furnace. Gold, however, passes away but faith, worth so much more, will bring you in the end praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ appears.

You have not yet seen Him and yet you love Him; even without seeing Him, you believe in Him and experience a heavenly joy beyond all words, for you are reaching the goal of your faith : the salvation of your souls.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 2-4, 13-15, 22-24

Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

I was pushed hard and about to fall, but the Lord came to my help. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : “The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.”

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it. This is the day the Lord has made; so let us rejoice and be glad.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 42-47

They were faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, the common life of sharing, the breaking of bread and the prayers. A holy fear came upon all the people, for many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the Apostles.

Now all the believers lived together and shared all their belongings. They would sell their property and all they had and distribute the proceeds to others according to their need. Each day they met together in the Temple area; they broke bread in their homes; they shared their food with great joy and simplicity of  heart; they praised God and won the people’s favour.

And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

On the Future Canonisation of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II

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The two great Popes of the last century, both of whom had been recognised as Blessed, through the virtues of their life and miracles attributed to them, will be declared Saints, in a ceremony likely to be scheduled at the end of this year (2013).

Both Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II, who was made a Blessed just two years ago on 1 May 2011, had each left their incredible and remarkable footprint in the path of history, both in the history of the Church, and in the history of the world and mankind.

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Blessed Pope John XXIII was known to be a great man of peace, and above all things seek to embrace peace and cooperation, between mankind, and also begun the process of Ecumenism in order to reunite the divided fragments of God’s Church back into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that is our Church.

He was also known for his Encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on earth), which was released just months after the world was almost engulfed in an all-out nuclear war between the two superpowers, the United States of America (USA) and the Soviet Union (USSR) during the height of the Cold War in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Blessed Pope John XXIII worked hard ceaselessly to promote peace between the parties in conflict, for the good of all mankind, all of whom are the children of the same one God.

Blessed Pope John XXIII also convoked the Second Vatican Council, which brought the Church in line with the developments in the world, and also to make the Church more relevant in the increasingly rapid new developments in our world, and the rise of apathy towards religion in general. He would pass away before the Council was completed, but his legacy continued on until today.

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Blessed Pope John Paul II ‘the Great’ was a well-known Pope, a Pope of youths, and a hardworking Pope, who travelled around the world to visit all the flocks of the Lord that had been entrusted to him as the Successor of St. Peter the Apostle, as the Vicar of Christ. He was instrumental in the end of Communism in Eastern Europe, ending persecutions against the people of the faith, and also open boundaries and barriers that had been long in place since the beginning of the Cold War.

Blessed Pope John Paul II has also renewed the zeal for the faith amongst many around the world, and especially in youths, to whom he dedicated a special event, the World Youth Day, in order to commemorate the faith, particularly amongst the youths of the faith, around the globe. He inspired many through his works, his Encyclicals, and especially his perseverance despite being troubled with a worsening Parkinson’s disease condition, that made him to labour until his passing on 2 April 2005.

Both Popes had been very influential, hardworking, and very holy leaders of the One Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they had done much to strengthen the faith and the Church, and bring God closer to many, bringing them closer to salvation.

I hope to soon be able to ask for the intercessions of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II the Great, and I pray that they will intercede for us sinners around the world, and pray for us, till we are greeted by them at the doors of heaven when it is time for us to be with the Lord again. Now we wait for the official announcement on the date of the Canonisation.

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Blessed Pope John XXIII, pray for us!

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Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for us!

50th Anniversary of the passing of Blessed Pope John XXIII, the Good Pope (3 June 1963)

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Today, 3 June 2013, marks 50 years since the passing of a great Pope, Blessed Pope John XXIII, who died from stomach cancer he had suffered for years, on 3 June 1963.

Blessed Pope John XXIII was Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, the former Patriarch of Venice, who was elected to the Pontificate in 1958 succeeding Pope Pius XII. He was a poor farmer’s son, who joined the Vatican diplomatic career and eventually was made the Patriarch of Venice, before succeeding as Pope in the 1958 Conclave.

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Blessed Pope John XXIII was most well-known for his role in convoking and planning for the Second Vatican Council, which ultimately would take place between 1962 and 1965, with the Council works continued by his successor Pope Paul VI in 1963 upon his passing.

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But Blessed Pope John XXIII was also well-known for another work, that is peace, which is one of the hallmark of his pontificate. He managed to help arrange peace talks between the USA and the USSR, the Cold War superpowers, which due to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 and preceding conflicts, almost went into an all-out nuclear war at the time.

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Blessed Pope John XXIII published the well-known encyclical on peace, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) just months before his death, but his works on peace help ensure that the destruction of mankind and God’s creation did not happen.

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Pray for us, o Blessed Pope John XXIII, that all of God’s children can truly become peacemakers on their own, and truly practice the love that God has planted in them, that love and peace will reign in this world, triumphant over evil, hatred, and violence.

Pope Francis to canonise 802 new saints on Sunday, 12 May 2013

http://www.romereports.com/palio/meet-the-soon-to-be-saints-of-the-catholic-church-english-9981.html#.UYurAcrTc78

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Pope Francis will canonise 802 new saints in a canonisation ceremony during the Mass on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at St. Peter’s Square.

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The most notable among the 802 new saints, are 800 among the saints themselves, who are the Martyrs of Otranto, who were martyred in 1480, when the rising Ottoman Empire raided Otranto, a city in Southern Italy, in one of their numerous raids against Christendom and the Lord’s faithful ones.

The 800 martyrs were the captured peoples of Otranto, who refused to abandon their faith and therefore live. They chose death and remain in the Lord instead. For this faith, they were declared martyrs and were beatified by Pope Clement XIV in 1771.

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Today, their relics and remains can be most obviously seen in the Chapel in Otranto are placed in glass display behind the Altar, as seen in the above picture. Led by Antonio Primaldo, the local tailor who led the townspeople in the invasion times, they were martyred by the Ottomans for defending their faith. They will henceforth be known as Saints Antonio Primaldo and Companions after their canonisation.

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The other saint to be canonised with the Martyrs of Otranto is St. Laura Montoya, or also known as St. Laura of St. Catherine of Siena, who was a religious nun from Colombia, who worked hard to evangelise the local native populations, and tried her best to end prejudice and discrimination against the native Indian population. She will be Colombia’s first saint ever.

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And the other saint to be also canonised with them is Mother Lupita, who was a Mexican nun that established a new religious organisation dedicated to the service of the poor and the less fortunate in Mexico, which had to often brave danger in their missions, because of the hostile situation at the time, with Mexico teeming with anti-Church sentiments. She will become the second female saint from Mexico.

The Martyr Saints of Otranto, Saint Laura, and Saint Lupita, pray for us.

Pope Francis’ Schedule for April and May 2013

http://www.news.va/en/news/liturgical-celebrations-to-be-presided-over-by-p-2

 

APRIL
7 April, Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday: 5:30pm, Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for the Bishop of Rome to take possession of the Roman cathedra.
14 April, Sunday: 5:30pm, Mass in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
21 April, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and priestly ordinations in St. Peter’s Basilica.
28 April, Sunday: 10:00am, Mass and confirmations in St. Peter’s Square.
 
MAY
4 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Recitation of the Rosary in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
5 May, Sunday: 10:00am, Mass for Confraternities in St. Peter’s Square.
12 May, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and canonizations of Blesseds Antonio Primaldo and Companions; Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala.
18 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Pentecost Vigil in St. Peter’s Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.
19 May, Pentecost Sunday: 10:00am, Mass in St. Peter’s Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.

Eighth Anniversary of the death of Blessed Pope John Paul II the Great

Blessed Pope John Paul II, also called the Great, passed away in Rome at the Apostolic Palace, on 2 April 2005 at 9.37 pm Rome time (21.37) or 9.37 pm UTC+1.

It has been 8 years since his passing, and therefore let us join in the moment of prayer, in our own homes and at the time of his passing wherever we are. Pray for his Canonisation as a Saint, and most importantly, pray for our Catholic Church and all of God’s beloved people.