By Father Rich Tomkosky
We need to always remember why Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead in His sacred body and soul: to save us from the power of satan, sin, and death, to give us a new chance to have eternal life with the Blessed Trinity in Heaven, if we choose to follow Jesus each day by picking up our cross and embracing it in love: the cross which is all the trials, the tribulations, the sufferings, and difficulties that come our way by living in this “valley of tears” on earth and by trying to be faithful to the Lord in the midst of it. Jesus took on the Cross to give us hope in the midst of our struggles – because if you ponder it, just a little, what He went through in His holy Passion and Death is MUCH WORST than anything you or I will ever have to face here on earth. So, when we do face our crosses in life, we should never lose heart because we remember the Resurrection is coming.
As we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, we are also in the midst of the Novena to Divine Mercy in the Church. The Deed of MERCY is Jesus’s saving death on the Cross for us, and the chaplet of Divine Mercy calls this to mind in a profound way. I like to think about the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross while I pray the Chaplet, in case you are wondering what to think about as you pray the Chaplet as people have asked me over the years. Pray this holy novena and Chaplet for the healing you need in your life, whatever it may be, as well as the other intentions you may have, especially praying for the conversion of hardened sinners, for mercy on the dying and for the souls in Purgatory. Jesus tells us to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful; and the measure with which you measure in relation to your neighbor will be measured back to you by God, whether we are kind or harsh.
As we conclude the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday, remember going forward that prayer and penance is the foundation of all we do as Catholics to help other souls. We must also be about doing deeds of mercy, factoring in our vocation, our health and our circumstances in holy prudence. This is the way we actually show we believe that Jesus truly won the victory over satan, sin and death: by being kind to one another, being patient and reaching out and helping others, both spiritually by sharing the treasure of our Catholic Faith with them and materially by sharing our time, talent, and treasure in helping others through good deeds of mercy. Jesus told Saint Faustina once in regards to all this, “My daughter, write this for the many souls who are often worried because they do not have the material means to carry out acts of mercy. Yet, spiritual mercy, (prayer, interior acts of self-sacrifice, and acts of reparation), which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy in some way, it will not obtain My mercy on the Day of Judgment” (see Diary of Divine Mercy, par 1317). You don’t need a lot of money to be a merciful person; you just need a kind and good and generous heart! And if you are blessed with a lot of money, be extra generous in helping others and supporting good Catholic charities. Being merciful as a disciple of Jesus is the fruit of much prayer, reflection, and embracing our daily cross in love, in union with Jesus and asking our Lady as the model disciple of Jesus to help us be more faithful and holy in the Lord’s sight. Jesus has set the example for us of laying down His life for us on Good Friday and now coming back to life to show us what He has in store for all of us – if we say YES to him with our life.
What are we going to do in return out of love for Him? Can we live our Catholic faith better in daily life? Can we make the sacrifice of our time to participate in Mass EVERY Sunday and Holy Day? Can we come to Confession regularly and bring our family as well? And to witness to our Catholic Faith well, in our increasingly sad world in which so many grow angrier and more defiant as the years go on, where people numb themselves with the passing pleasures of sexual immorality and chemicals, where too many of the young are confused in who they are as a man or woman created in God’s image – not an it or a they. Let’s pray we don’t end up like Judas, but instead like repentant Saint Peter and most of all our Lady of Sorrows, Mary, our spiritual Mother, who gave everything to God both interior and exterior in her life and was willing to embrace any sacrifice to help Jesus save souls. God bless you.
Father Rich Tomkosky is the Pastor of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish in Bedford and the Pastor of Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Beans Cove.