Happy Easter! Yes, Easter is for a whole season – not just for one day! That’s why each Sunday of Easter is called ‘2nd Sunday of Easter, 3rd Sunday of Easter’ etc. Extending Easter for a whole season of 50 days is meant to help us appreciate the foundational nature of this event, meaning, there is no Christianity without Easter! So let us continue our celebration of this all important feast of Easter! This weekend we celebrate two significant events:
1. The Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22. It educates us about what we have and what we are losing by acting in ways that aren’t environmentally friendly or energy efficient. Earth Day reminds us that we need to take action now to protect our environment before it’s too late. But for us Christians it takes an added importance: In the Nicene Creed, we say, “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” How appropriate that the first sentence of our Creed mentions the fact that all of creation comes from God! Sing songs of praise such as “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.” We need to ponder the strength and wisdom of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si: On Care of Our Common Home.” Francis tells us “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother, who opens her arms to embrace us…This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” And then he tells us, “The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor are ONE. As true disciples of Jesus, we must take these words seriously and respond with concrete actions as well as a simple way of living.
2. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday: Pope St. John Paul II made this surprise announcement at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000: "It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.'" The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter; nevertheless, the title "Divine Mercy Sunday" does highlight and amplify the meaning of the day. In this way, it recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to St. Augustine about the Easter Octave, which he called "the days of mercy and pardon," and the Octave Day itself "the compendium of the days of mercy."
May we recognize and act on our duty to preserve and pass on our common home of the Earth which is given to us in the infinite mercy of God.
Your brother in Christ,